New Delhi: For 49-year-old Ram Madhav, the first anniversary of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government marks an important milestone in his own career. Nearly 12 months ago, he joined the PM’s party after serving for years as one of the top leaders of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh or RSS, which is the ideological mentor of the ruling BJP.
His adaptation to full-fledged politics seems robust as he offers a withering assessment of Opposition leader Rahul Gandhi, whose catch-phrase of “suit boot ki sarkaar” to taint the government as working for the elite has been often repeated. “What is he trying to say? His whole family wears suit-boot,” Ram Madhav said, indirectly referencing Mr Gandhi’s controversial brother-in-law Robert Vadra, who was allegedly granted sweetheart land deals in Haryana while the Congress was in power there.
Describing Mr Gandhi as a late bloomer, whose comments come with “a short shelf life,” the BJP leader said, “You see, when a child doesn’t speak for very long, people are surprised to see them speak. So they want to encourage them too.”
Ram Madhav has played a lead role in the BJP’s strategy for December’s election in Jammu and Kashmir, which marked the party’s strongest performance ever in the state and brought it to power for the first time in a coalition government.
He has also been busy with back-room planning for the Prime Minister’s many foreign trips – his frequent travel abroad has led to the Opposition denouncing him as “an NRI PM.” Ram Madhav is now busy with arrangements for the PM’s visit to Bangladesh, due next month.
“I can tell you the PM’s trips have already benefitted the economy by increasing FDI and tourism by 15%,” Ram Madhav told NDTV. When asked to explain the co-relation claimed by him, he said announcements by Mr Modi in other countries of e-visas is bringing many visitors to India.
As a strategist for the party, Ram Madhav admitted that the recent civic elections in Bengal, where the BJP did not score a single win, was a point of concern. The state votes for its next government in about a year. “We are thinking about it and taking stock, and yes, we would have liked to do much better,” Ram Madhav said.