The Telegraph
Saturday , May 17 , 2014
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Selfie moment for mom, too

May 16: The 92-year-old didn’t need to break with tradition, after all. Her son, the country’s Prime Minister-elect, came over.

He even took a “selfie” with her.

Mom’s day made, Narendra Modi headed back to his official residence.

The original plan for Friday was Modi’s mother Hiraben would visit her son once the trends became clear. The old lady has never been to Modi’s residence to celebrate an election victory.

Around 10 in the morning, Pankaj Modi, the BJP mascot’s youngest brother with whom Hiraben lives, got a call, informing him about a change in plans.

Modi, busy receiving congratulatory calls from heads of state and embassies of some neighbouring countries, would himself come over by noon.

“His mother is old but fully in her senses to comprehend the enormity of the situation. She did her usual Surya pujan and waited,” said a source in Modi’s administration.

After the Vadodara and Varanasi numbers became clear, some top officials in the Bangladesh government had called to wish him. “They also indicated that Sheikh Hasina was keen to invite him to Bangladesh, but the formal invitation and call would wait till the results were officially declared,” the source said.

Then came another “informal call” from the Japanese government. It was a little after noon and Modi was on his way to meet his mother in Gandhinagar’s Sector 22, about 5km from his official residence.

“His key people were trying to convince him of the need for SPG cover for his mother and the rest of his family, but he kept insisting that he did not want it,” the source said.

When Modi reached his mother’s place, Pankaj and his kids took him inside. Modi stayed for about 10 minutes, had a laddoo and left. He later tweeted a selfie with his mother.

“His mother told me she was confident her son would deliver on his promises,” said an official who visited Pankaj’s house a little after Modi had left.

Back at his residence, Modi got a call from Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa. Soon, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called too, followed by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

“Mr Abbott said he was looking forward to working with India’s Prime Minister-elect and has invited him to visit Australia and to the G20 summit in Brisbane in November,” said the source in Modi’s administration.

After a small lunch of vegetables and roti, Modi arrived at the BJP headquarters at Koba, a small village between Gandhinagar and Ahmedabad, to thank party cadres who had worked tirelessly to make it possible for a “chaiwallah” to become Prime Minister.

US President Barack Obama called in the afternoon. Later in the evening, Modi got a call from Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who had studied in India. A source in Modi’s office said they had a “pleasant chat” — in Hindi.

“I don’t want to sound too proud,” Modi’s sister summed it up for The Telegraph, speaking from Unjha, a small town near Vadnagar, around 100km from Ahmedabad, where the Modi siblings grew up. “But my brother has shown that a man from a simple background can become PM.”