The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday hosted its annual Diwali get-together for mediapersons. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, party chief Amit Shah, some Union ministers and BJP spokespersons attended the event, as did hundreds of journalists. As the Prime Minister entered the pavilion erected for the event at the BJP’s national headquarters on New Delhi’s Ashoka Road, Union ministers and party leaders queued up to welcome him with a red rose and a book in hand. In June, the PM had urged people to “give a book instead of a bouquet as a greeting” and had said there is no joy greater than reading and no strength greater than knowledge.
Subsequently in July, the Ministry of Home Affairs had state governments ensure that the PM was not offered any bouquets during his visit — at best a flower with a khadi handkerchief or a book could be presented. The BJP communications prepared likewise, and arranged books on history to be gifted to the PM. At the event on Saturday, Modi ignored the ministers and party leaders who had queued up and headed straight to the dais.