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Gujarat Bhavan is the new power centre in Delhi

Tuesday, 20 May 2014 - 7:00am IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: dna

There is a ring of security around Gujarat Bhavan in the capital. Next door is Samrat Hotel. Two floors of Samrat Hotel have been taken over by the Intelligence Bureau. It's in Gujarat Bhavan that India's prime minister-designate, the Samrat of India in flesh and blood, has gone to ground.

Both Samrat Hotel and Gujarat Bhavan stand on Kautilya Marg.

The cash-register of a Mother Dairy vend, stuck snug between Samrat Hotel and Gujarat Bhavan, has been constantly ringing. "It will soon be replaced by an Amul vend," says a journalist. Amul is a Gujarat success story. So is Narendra Modi.

On Monday, a clutch of BJP leaders made a beeline to Gujarat Bhavan. There was BJP president Rajnath Singh. Then came the supposedly disgruntled Sushma Swaraj. Arun Jaitley, the beaten Amritsar-hopeful, also met Modi.

A surprise (to the media) visitor was Arun Shourie, the quieter of the two Aruns. Not many knew Shourie was in the so-called Modi-camp but it appears the two share a special bond. Grapevine says Shourie will get a plum post in the Modi-dispensation.

Modi has been in the Capital ever since he returned to Delhi from Varanasi late in the evening on May 17. There are signs of Modi-fication of Delhi. On May 16 evening, a police advisory warned motorists to keep off certain roads. On the evening of May 19 a stretch of Raisina Road was closed to traffic. Cross-eyed cops blocked off the road from both ends. Reason: Murli Manohar Joshi stays on Raisina Road and Modi had come calling.

What the two discussed is not known. The media couldn't get a whiff of what transpired. But the police took care not to bar access to the Press Club of India which also happens to be on Raisina Road while Modi and Joshi talked. It wouldn't have been a good start for Modi to begin life in the Capital ruffling media feathers.

The liberal hand doesn't extend to Kautilya Marg. Gujarat Bhavan is a fortress. Ob-vans line both sides of the road. Reporters and cameramen mill around. The tinted windows of cars that enter and leave Gujarat Bhavan don't leave much to guess. Tinted windows are against the law in Delhi. Who cares?

On Monday, YSR Congress Party leader Jagan Reddy also met Modi. The two discussed the politics of the aftermath of the elections. "I told him YSRCP will offer NDA issue-based support," Jagan told reporters. He also sought assurances on certain aspects of the NTPC.

Modi's response to the Jagan's generous (and unwanted) offer is not for public consumption. Brother-journos in Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar will cluck in sympathy. Modi has always kept the media at arm's length. That symptom hasn't disappeared in the rarefied atmosphere of Delhi. Security agencies in Delhi seem to have caught on fast with what Modi wants: "Maximum Publicity, Minimum Media".




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