Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Sunday he deliberately kept “politics” out of his monthly radio address ‘Mann ki Baat’ as the programme was about the aspirations of the people and not his or the government’s achievements.
He also said he chose radio as a medium to connect with the people as it was a “mighty means” of getting across. Addressing the 50th episode of the programme, he said the “apprehensions” of the people are not “misplaced” that the programme could have been used as a political tool and to disseminate his and his government’s achievements. “The fact is, if a leader gets hold of a microphone with assured listeners to the tune of millions, what else does he need? … When ‘Mann Ki Baat’ commenced, I had firmly decided that it would carry nothing political, or any praise for the government, nor Modi for that matter anywhere. The greatest bulwark in ensuring adherence to my resolve have been you,” he said.
As a run up to each episode, the expectations and aspirations of listeners through their letters, online comments and phone calls are crystal clear, he said. “Modi may come and go, but this country will never let go of its unity and permanence, our culture will always be immortal,” the prime minister said. He said in an era of social media, he preferred radio as he realised its potential in 1998 as a worker of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In a remote Himachal Pradesh area, it was a tea stall owner who broke him the news of India carrying out nuclear test.
“It was matter of great intrigue to me to see a lone tea seller in a remote, snow-clad hilly place, who possibly kept listening to the radio the entire day. watching that particular effect of the news on radio led me to realise and internalise that this was a medium that was truly connected with the masses. and that it was a mighty means of getting across,” Modi said. In terms of the reach and depth of communication, radio has been incomparable. I have been nursing that feeling ever since, acknowledging its power and strength. Hence when I became the prime minister, it was natural for me to turn towards a strong, effective medium, he pointed out.
Modi’s monthly radio broadcast ‘Mann ki Baat’ completed 50 episodes on Sunday. In its previous episodes, he has covered issues of social, national as well as international implication: education of the girl child, tackling exam stress, climate change and drug menace. In October 2014, in the very first episode of the programme, he had urged citizens to use at least one khadi product, saying it would help poor weavers.