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The ABCs of the National Democratic Alliance

Sunday, 18 May 2014 - 6:10am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. After long months of speculation and debate, finally a reality. As BJP leaders jockey for plum cabinet posts and the capital's chattering classes get ready to live with the new dispensation, few realise just how much things will change. Much of the UPA were westernised, city-bred, at home in the ethnic chic parlours of Lutyens' Delhi. The Modi-led lot, will be different — earthy sons of the soil who pointedly speak in Sanskritised Hindi and hold forth on their conservative values uncaring of what the liberal left leaning intelligentsia and the secularist might think. Be that as it may, life in the capital will certainly not be the same. dna's Delhi bureau serves up the ABCs of the Modi era.

Ache Din
As far as campaign slogans go, 'Ab Ki Baar, Modi Sarkar' was right up there with 'Yes We Can', and 'Garibi Hatao' . Towards the last phase of the election, it was the slogan 'Ache Din Aane Wale Hain' that occupied centre-stage in the BJP's election campaign. Billboards with the slogan filled up the cityscape and people couldn't help but hum along. Good times are here indeed, say Modi loyalists. How good, only time will tell.

Move over French-beard and goatee. Expect Modi's trimmed white beard to be the new rage. How much? There's even a Facebook page "BEARD for MODI campaign", urging people to sport the Modi beard in support of the man. The FB page's descriptor put it succinctly: "I see people growing moustaches for some lame cause or NGOs, I would like to grow my beard symbolising my support to Modi". We think the beard will have more takers this season.

Chappan-inch ki Chati
Men pumping iron may just have a new idol. Pictures of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone or Hulk Hogan are ubiquitous across city gyms. Now expect to see a beaming Modi with his "56-inch" chest make an appearance next to these, er, giants. Modi made it a point to draw attention to his 'sizeable' chest in true macho style. Men looking to gain muscle need no longer look to foreign shores, they have their own home-grown idol for inspiration.

No Dilli sabha is quite complete without the samosa which makes an appearance in all discussions, debates and book launches. Its days may just be over as it gets sidelined by the dhokla, the quintessential steamed Gujarati snack. We know the BJP leader is health conscious, so it's quite likely that cabinet meetings and high teas at Lutyens' Delhi would feature the dhokla instead of the samosa.

Words like tax reforms, FDI and fiscal deficit will fly thick and fast in the capital as the NDA's first priority will be to get India's sluggish economy back on track. The financial capital of the country may be Mumbai, but it will be Delhi, the national capital, that will be buzzing with the E word for some time.

That's the best the Congress and its trolls could come up with in response to 'Pappu' for Rahul Gandhi. We think the word is going to be here as Modi baiters will grow even louder as Modi takes centre-stage. Expect them to shout 'feku' in unison with every scheme and project the NDA announces.

Gujarat Model
Modi may be placed at the centre, in charge of the nation, but the much-touted Gujarat model will be the buzzword for some time. The BJP leader will want to replicate a lot of what worked in his state when he was chief minister at the centre. For better or worse, it will be difficult to divert focus from the Gujarat model. Talk is that Modi's key administrative aides from Gandhinagar will soon make Delhi their new home to help Modi replicate the Gujarat success in Delhi.

Delhi is known for its Sultanate and Mughal-era charm. That could get sidelined as Modi, the pro-Hindutva leader, may want to hark back to the city's really ancient and, well, 'Hindu' past, right back to Mahabharata perhaps. The city's name could be changed to Indraprastha, capital of the Pandavas that is thought to be located in New Delhi. Expect more pracheen mandirs to spring around the city.

Modi is India Inc's favourite politician, the man they flock to meet and unabashedly canvassed for. As Modi seems determined to replicate the 'success' of his Gujarat model by bringing in 'development', industries will be the biggest beneficiaries. So, will Delhi be buoyed by a sudden rush in industries in the NCR?

We hope that the electoral tug-of-war about the Sabarmati and the Jamuna (not Yamuna, mind you) leads to the PM-in-waiting cleaning the unholy mess of the clogged river. With pictures of the clean Sabarmati river front on social media, one hopes he'll do the same for the Jamuna.

Keeping the kamal selfie aside, the 'kamal khilane aaya hoon' BJP theme song found fewer takers than the earlier earworm "NaMo NaMo PM go!". NaMo thundered that 2014 would be the year of the kamal and ensured that the kamal appeared on our TV screens every two minutes. Don't tell us we didn't warn you, if you find yourself chomping on a Defence Bakery 'kamal kakri' quiche.

Loh purush
All you Iron Man fans, brace yourself for the desi version of the iconic hero. If there's one man that NaMo has made no bones about admiring: it's Sardar Patel. As Gujarat chief minister, he'd commissioned the world's tallest statue of the Iron Man in Ahmedabad. Will he now plan an even taller one for the country's capital city? Or will he dot the entire landscape of the city with the Sardar, a la Mayawati in Lucknow with Ambedkar statues?

Modi Kurta
Impeccably starched and ironed half-sleeved linen or cotton kurtas with buttoned-up prince collars are what will be the flavour from now on. Consider shades as varied as saffron, green, purple, blue or yellow. But, remember to keep it colourful. Also, a trip to the nearest Fabindia is advisable. Thanks to Modi, the humble kurta has found new life as a fashion statement, with enterprising stylists, or darzis if you will, registering the 'Modi kurta' as a label and doing brisk business . Last heard, the kurta was found making its way to the US and the UK.

News traders
This election has not been an easy one for journos. In the midst of the pitched rhetoric, Modi coined a new term — 'news traders'. While some of the powers that be in Delhi's newsrooms had to make rushed moves to safer spaces, some were accused of supportive coverage to curry favour with the PM-in-waiting. That did not stop NaMo trolls on the Internet from coming up with creative terms like 'paid media', 'media crooks', etc.

Now is an exciting time for the once-not-so-cool colour. Expect news studios to exhibit heavy hues of tangerine, or book launches and Delhi's do's to display splashes of coral. Summer fashion collectibles and launches will be wise enough to not give the colour a miss. Also, saffron virgin mojitos, anyone?

If you have ever been on the wrong side of NaMo trolls on the Internet, you would know that Pakistan is the only safe haven for you. Liberals at the Attic, the cultural space in the heart of Delhi's Connaught Place, joked about booking mass train tickets to Pakistan on tatkal. So perhaps it'll be goodbye to cross-border cultural encounters, those evenings of sufi and rock music by artists on the other side of the border? There goes one perennial in the cultural life of the capital.

Queer Question
Depend upon it, the question of queers — the entire to-do over section 377 — will take on added uncertainty. Will the BJP-led government clamp down on the vibrant, albeit underground gay scene in the capital? Note that he never said anything when the issue was raging all over the media recently. Is Modi's silence in this regard golden, or is it ominous? After all, the saffron party's backbone comprises religious organisations for whom homosexuality is strictly against Bharatiya sabhyata.

Dashrath's eldest son has always been the icon of the saffron party, and he remains so — so what if they've had to play down in this election campaign a temple dedicated to the epic hero in what is believed to be his birthplace, Ayodhya. Ram is not just an icon of the Hindus, he's also an imam of the Muslims the party told the Election Commission which issued it a show cause notice following a picture of Ram on the podium during Modi's Faizabad rally. After all, hadn't Allama Iqbal said, "Hai Ram ke wajood pe Hindustan ko naaz, ahle nazar samajhte hain unko Imam-e-Hind (India is proud of Ram's being and people of wisdom consider him the leader of India)"?

That one selfie he took after casting his vote into got him into a lot of trouble, but it did help Modi up his cool quotient with the Twitter generation. Anyway, why should Hollywood stars have all the fun? Perhaps, there'll be more on the cards now — one of himself with the president, in office at the PMO, cheerfully posing with LK Advani in the euphoria of victory? A cue for bureaucrats desirous of being in the good books of the PM — pose for selfies with the boss?

Not since the Boston Tea Party has the beverage enjoyed so much political resonance. In India, of course, chai, one half of chai-pani, has always oiled the wheels of government. For Modi, the original chai-wallah, it was the brew that powered him into the gaddi with the hundreds of chai-pe charchas he conducted all across the country in the run-up to the elections. Expect the humble drink to be the official drink for the Modi sarkar. Perhaps, the new government will also do something to improve the conditions of workers the moribund tea industry in the northeast?

With Modi at the helm, it's time to wear your nationalism on your sleeves —be Indian, buy Indian, speak Indian, eat Indian, behave Indian, etc...

Veggie Delight
Our new PM is a strict vegetarian. A light Gujarati khichdi with copious quantities of lemonade was all that sustained him through the rigours of the election campaign. So babus who'd become used to kebabs and kormas from 5-star hotels during official functions had better reorient their tastes — they'd better abjure chicken sandwiches too.

Walled city
If there's one thing that Delhi shares with Gujarat's largest city, Ahmedabad, it's a walled city. The Modi era saw a transformation of this old part of Ahmedabad as he successfully campaigned to get it on the UNESCO world heritage cities list. Could he do the same to Shahjahanabad?

X factor
Modi has been the X-factor in the 2014 general elections, the BJP's trump card that worked as the magic wand drawing voters from all across — east, west, north and south. Will he display the same magic, the same zing powering the fortunes of the nation? The capital's aam aadmi definitely hopes so.

Be Indian, do yoga — expect this to be the slogan of the Modi sarkar. The PM-elect swears by the ancient form of physical exercise developed by our Vedic sages. He does a round of yoga and pranayam (breathing exercises) every day, he has said, and it keeps him going on five hours of sleep a night and still feeling energetic all day. So don't be surprised if you find a mushrooming business in yoga studies and a thriving business for yoga teachers soon — the babus will want to keep up with the boss, after all.

Z -plus security
Narendra Modi is already the most-protected man in India with a security cover of over 500 NSG commandos. But now that he's prime minister, they'll give him more security. In Delhi, obsessed with lal batti-cars and Black Cats, that'll be something to look forward to.

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