New Delhi: Hours after the Indian Air Force (IAF) conducted air strikes on terror camps in Balakot, Pakistan, at 3.45 am Tuesday, it was business as usual for Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who worked to a packed schedule.
Not one to easily cancel his public addresses or events — especially in an election season — the PM kept to his schedule, with the only ‘unplanned’ addition being the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) meeting.
The PM began his official engagements of the day by chairing the crucial CCS meet at 7, Lok Kalyan Marg, a little before 10 am.
After the meet, and just when Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale was about to address a press conference on the IAF strikes, Modi reached Rashtrapati Bhavan for the Gandhi Peace Prize ceremony, where President Ram Nath Kovind conferred the awards.
Around 11.30 am, the PM began his very brief speech.
“First of all, my apologies for being late. The programme started late as I reached here late. I was busy in some other work and I was late,” the PM said, in a reference to the CCS meeting.
At Rashtrapati Bhavan, the PM also apprised President Kovind of the situation.
Off to Rajasthan
An hour later, around 12.30 pm, the PM took off for Churu in Rajasthan to address a public rally. He landed there around 1.45 pm, and began his speech at 2 pm, choosing dramatic words to bring home the impact of the IAF strikes.
“I swear on this soil,” he said, “I will not let the country bow down.”
In a clear indication of how his party is likely to use the Balakot retaliation, Modi said that “the country is in safe hands”. He then went on to talk about farmers’ issues and what his government had done for the community.
He landed back in Delhi just a few minutes before 4 pm.
Not one to shy away from glitzy optics, Modi boarded the Delhi Metro from the Khan Market station at 4.25 pm, travelling to Nehru Place to attend a ‘Gita aradhana‘ event at an ISKCON temple in East of Kailash where he unveiled an 800-kg copy of the Bhagavad Gita.
जनता का सेवक, जनता के साथ, जनता के बीच… pic.twitter.com/PMc0fp63cA
— BJP (@BJP4India) February 26, 2019
In the visuals from his rather colourful Metro ride, the PM could be seen greeting other commuters and posing for pictures, even making a child sit on his lap.
The PM delivered a speech at the ISKCON temple soon after arriving there around 5 pm, speaking at length about the Bhagavad Gita and how it “teaches harmony and brotherhood”.
“God is always with us in protecting earth from the enemies of humanity. We are genuinely trying to propagate this message to the… demons,” he added.
Wrapping up his last public engagement of the day, the PM returned to 7, LKM a little past 6 in the evening.