The cliche goes a picture’s worth a thousand words. So the pictures generated in Narendra Modi’s first year as PM speak volumes. Here are some of the landmark moments in the last year.
Narendra Modi was sworn in as the Prime Minister on May 29, 2014 at the Rashtrapti Bhavan in New Delhi. The swearing-in ceremony was attended by leaders from eight neighbouring nations. In his first year in office, he has been abroad for 53 of 365 days, visiting 17 countries.
Modi’s masterful use of Twitter and other social media platforms during the election campaign has been well documented. His meticulous use of it after becoming Prime Minister ensures that he retains control of his image, and by extension, that of his government’s. With more than 12 million twitter followers and 28 million Facebook page likes, Modi is the second- most followed political leader on social media, after US President Barack Obama (58 million twitter followers and 43 million Facebook page likes).
In November 2014, Modi joined Instagram and within hours of posting his first picture, the account had nearly 38,000 followers. He gathered more than 443,000 followers in less than five months. Ahead of his visit to China, he joined the Chinese social media platform Weibo to connect with Chinese citizens.
From policy announcements to interactions with foreign leaders, his Twitter account has become the primary source for all information. His social media-led approach to communication has successfully circumvented private media which has been used selectively and that often finds itself taking cues from social media.
To reach out to people who are not yet part of the digital world, he has rediscovered the good old-fashioned radio broadcast. Mann Ki Baat, a thematic monthly radio programme hosted by Modi, was first broadcast on October 3, 2014.
His recent selfie with the Chinese PM Li Keqiang at Beijing’s Temple of Heaven is being described by the Western media as one of the most “power-packed” and most powerful selfie ever. This was incidentally, as Chinese bloggers noted, the first ever selfie of the Chinese PM.
While these images have projected the image that Modi has wanted to, they have also resulted in fodder for controversy and cartoons. From the bandhgala suit which had ‘Narendra Damodardas Modi’ monogrammed as pinstripes to the recent trip to the Terracotta Warriors Museum in Xi’an, the pictures that Modi has generated in his first year as Prime Minister tell a story in themselves. The Prime Minister is here to communicate.