They say that clothes can make a man; can clothes make or break elections? In the case of the recently conducted Delhi elections they say that Prime Minister Modi’s clothes might have had something to do with the thumping that the BJP got. One of the reasons that Prime Minister Modi’s story has been so compelling for all Indians has been his unique background as a tea seller and living simply as a karyakarta in RSS. Not being part of any elite clubs or the elite cliques in Delhi his has been the story that everyone cheers and wants to see triumph. His battle against the establishment in the last elections was truly fought not just about governance but also about the anti-establishment going up against the generations of the established i.e. the Gandhi family.
However most analysts would say that his wearing personally monogrammed suits and changing his attire 4 times in a day during the visit of President Obama changed that perception in one fell swoop. A picture they say speaks more than a thousand words. Especially in a country like India where 70% of the population still lives below the poverty line but has aspirations due to them owning a mobile phone or access to TV. An average Indian cannot afford monogrammed suits and might find it hard to distinguish between the perfectly coiffed and out of touch with the aam admi (pardon the pun) former Home Minister Shivraj Patil et al and Prime Minister Modi.
Does the Prime Minister have the right to wear good clothes absolutely! In fact that is one of the things that could be admirable because he gives an impression of a man in control of his and his nation’s destiny while dealing with world leaders. However politics is an entirely different game where perception is everything. Has his perception as a man of the people been permanently changed? What do you think? Your comments are welcome?