When Rajdeep Sardesai cancelled PM Modi for not speaking English

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and journalist Rajdeep Sardesai often find themselves with opposing viewpoints. Nor are the two friends today. And yet, there exists a strange sort of camaraderie between the two.

On Wednesday, after Modi delivered the keynote address for the India Ideas Summit organised by the US India Business Council, the journalist took to Twitter stating that the Prime Minister had lived up to a long ago promise.

"PM Modi speaking at Indo US biz summit in English: proof that he has lived up to a promise he made to me many years ago! I cancelled him from a prog at last moment for Pramod Mahajan because latter spoke better Eng. Modi Ji told me then: ‘Ek din me angrezi mein bhashan dunga'," he wrote.

The two, both well known in their fields, have had a lengthy acquaintance. As Sardesai himself wrote in a November 2014 article for Livemint, he had met the future Prime Minister in 1990, while tracking the Ram Janmabhoomi Rath Yatra. "Modi and I got along rather well in that period," he says. Considering themselves "outsiders" in Delhi the two shared a kind of rapport, both over their common awareness of the Gujarati language and their family. "Modi had known of my grandfather who was a police officer in the Gujarat cadre, and we were able to strike some kind of a rapport," Sardesai wrote.

But things changed in 2002. "The 2002 riots changed the Modi-media equation, as indeed it did my own relationship with the man," Sardesai writes. And what has once became an amicable relationship soured as Modi viewed the media with increasing hostility,

As Sardesai recalls, while the channel of communication never quite broke down, there had crept some hostility into the relationship. On one occasion for example, he was given an interview by the Chief Minister while he sat on the footboard of a bus.

Following Modi's landslide win, the journalist had also written a book called '2014: The Election That Changed India'. He wrote a follow-up for the 2019 elections too.

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Free Press Journal