2020 brings a break in PM Modi’s packed international itinerary
Blame it on the Covid-19 pandemic, but 2020 could end up becoming the first year since 2014 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi didn’t visit a foreign country.
According to data from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) website, until 22 November, Modi had not made a single international trip in 2020. And it’s unlikely that he will visit any country before the year ends.
His last foreign visit was to Brazil in November 2019. The PM, however, visited different states this year, including Bihar, where he went four times to campaign for the recently-concluded assembly elections, and Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh to lead the groundbreaking ceremony for the Ram temple.
This development stands out because, in pre-pandemic times, PM Modi had a packed international itinerary.
According to PMO data, in all, Modi visited 96 countries between 15 June 2014 and November 2019. A breakup shows that, in 2014, Modi visited eight countries, followed by 23 countries in 2015, 17 in 2016, and then 14, 20 and 14 over the next three years, respectively.
Minister Prahlad Singh Patel’s long guest list for daughter’s wedding
Union Culture and Tourism Minister Prahlad Singh Patel is busy these days distributing invitation cards and making arrangements for his daughter’s wedding on 30 November.
So far, he has extended over 100 invitations. He has personally met Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, BJP president J.P. Nadda, Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar and dozens of other ministers to invite them.
In a big relief for him, most of the wedding ceremonies will be held in Madhya Pradesh, where a large number of invitees can grace the occasion, unlike Delhi, where Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has announced restrictions on large gatherings. Only 50 people are allowed at weddings in Delhi currently, while MP allows 100 indoors and 200 outdoors.
One seat to decide future of two leaders
After the death of LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan, his vacant Rajya Sabha seat, which will go to the polls in December, is likely to see a tough contest between Paswan’s widow Reena and former Bihar deputy CM and BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi.
In the power corridors, the question in the air is, who will get the seat.
If Modi secures the nomination, it could pave the way for his induction in the Union cabinet, and the move will be seen as a temporary end to the BJP’s relationship with LJP chief Chirag Paswan. If Reena gets the nomination, it will mean Modi will have to wait for a nomination to the Rajya Sabha.