Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi has given himself a quiet makeover, perhaps to keep up with the changing image of the State as one of the most industrially developed in the country.
At the recent Rannotsav, a three-day cultural festival showcasing the folk culture of northern Gujarat and the Kutch region, Modi swapped his trademark khadi kurta and loose trousers for faded denims and a cowl neck polo pullover - a designer outfit in navy blue with denim patches across the chest, and draped a grey woollen scarf casually around his neck.
The footwear to match the attire was a pair of trendy leather slip-ons.
His body language was also tailored to match his attire. As Modi tucked his hands into his pockets and walked away alone into the salt moors in a mood of introspection - with a crowd of television cameramen following him, a senior state official said, “It looks straight out of Bollywood.”
He struck a rather poetic stand. “The salt stretches are karmic. Those who come here on moonlit nights bring lifetimes of connections with them. Not everybody can come here even if they want to,” Modi told IANS.
“Images change,” laughed the Chief Minister with a salute when told that he was looking smart. “After all, there are foreign dignitaries to talk to all the time. Gujarat is a forward looking state,” he said.
Modi was recently seen on television wearing a cowboy hat. The Chief Minister is also known for his trench coats - in shades of brown, mustard and grey - which he usually pairs with formal western-style black trousers and occasionally with the Indian churidar.
An iconic image of the Chief Minister that adorns the Rann tourism brochures is of Modi in a grey trenchcoat talking on his cellphone in the middle of the salt desert. A slight breeze ruffles his hair.
“That’s me. One has to stay connected,” he said, when pointed out.