Wednesday March 27, 2019
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Modi accepts invite to attend SAARC summit in Islamabad

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Ufa (Russia), Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday accepted an invitation from his Pakistani counterpart Nawaz Sharif to attend the 19th SAARC Summit in Islamabad next year.

According to the joint statement read out after talks between Modi and Sharif here: “Prime Minister Sharif reiterated his invitation to Prime Minister Modi to visit Pakistan for the SAARC summit 2016. Prime Minister Modi accepted the invitation.”

medium_13601This will mark Modi’s first visit to Pakistan after becoming prime minister.

Modi’s visit to Pakistan was under a cloud following growing tension in ties between the two neighbors, over continuing ceasefire violations on the border and sharp statements from Pakistan on the Kashmir issue.

The hour-long talks between the two leaders here has given a push to normalcy in bilateral ties, and also made more plausible Modi’s visit to Pakistan in an environment of relative peace.

Former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee of the BJP-led NDA had attended the 12th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit in Islamabad on January 4-6, 2004.

The fourth SAARC summit in Islamabad saw then Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi attending. Benazir Bhutto was the Pakistani prime minister then. (IANS)

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PM Narendra Modi Engages with Celebrities to Boost Visibility

Ahead of the 2019 elections, Modi has been increasingly reaching out to Bollywood celebrities to urge citizens to cast their vote

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India, elections, vietnam, BJP
India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures as he addresses a gathering in New Delhi, India. VOA

Prime Minister Narendra Modi engaged with celebrities across different fields effectively on social media in the run-up to the 2014 general elections to raise his visibility and further his electoral ambitions, as per a US study.

Joyojeet Pal, an associate professor at the University of Michigan’s School of Information, examined more than 9,000 tweets from @narendramodi between February 2009 and October 2015 to research Modi’s engagement with Indian public figures before and after elections.

As per the study, ‘Brand Modi: Decoding social media engagement with celebrities’, there were three distinct phases of engagement that happened in the six years for which he studied Modi’s tweets.

It was noticed in the first phase, Modi reached out to Amitabh Bachchan, businessman Narayana Murthy, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar and spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. “By engaging with them, he presented the idea that people outside his core support group and with broad followings were willing to engage with him,” Pal said.

Around 2013, his approach moved to getting support for his campaign by referring to various celebrities in his tweets, posing with them, and in some cases, getting their outright endorsement for the campaign. During this phase, celebrity engagement was mainly through pictures showing affiliation.

Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi.(Wikimedia Commons)

The efforts rounded off post-election when Modi called on celebrities primarily as champions for his initiatives.

According to Pal, this was the phase when Modi presented his initiatives as campaigns with national appeal rather than something imposed on the country.

This, Pal said, was particularly seen with Swachh Bharat, a national movement to clean up India’s roads and infrastructure, and, subsequently, with demonetisation. Celebrity engagement at these points presents the views of a collaborative, thoughtful leader.

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Number of Modi’s Twitter followers stands at 46.6 million, and he continues to engage with celebrities.

Ahead of the 2019 elections, Modi has been increasingly reaching out to Bollywood celebrities to urge citizens to cast their vote. (IANS)