Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a public rally in Madhya Pradesh’s Chhatarpur on Saturday | Photo: PTI
In between many election rallies and speeches lined up for him, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to go down the memory lane on Sunday in the 50th episode of Mann Ki Baat hits 50, a source in the government said.
Modi, who’s the first PM to reach out to the masses through his talk show on All India Radio (AIR) and Doordarshan, has inspired at least two chief ministers — while Chhattisgarh’s Raman Singh followed the PM’s footstep in 2015 through a regular programme called Raman Ke Goth, Jharkhand’s Raghubar Das is likely to start a radio address too, an official in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said. Some other states are also learnt to be planning similar radio address by leaders to understand the concerns of the people ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
In October 2014, the PM had made his debut on Mann Ki Baat. According to government data, sales of khaadi products jumped by 125 per cent within a week of the radio bulletin. The khaadi spirit continued when the PM revisited the idea one year later in September 2015 and then again in January 2016.
Some of the other ideas that got significant traction on the programme include tackling drug abuse and exam fears. While #drugfreeindia went viral after the PM’s address, ‘Exam Warriors’ became the title of Modi’s book on dealing with examinations. If the PM asked the young citizens to celebrate exams rather than fear them, he also spoke at length about the enjoyment of summer holidays. In March 2016, the PM urged school and college students to learn a new skill or travel through the country during holidays. Soon, thousands of youngsters shared their holiday experiences on social media.
In fact, Mann Ki Baat has captured many important initiatives taken by this government and has mostly been able to turn the narrative its own way, said an analyst watching the developments. Even in the case of demonetisation, the PM referred to it as a celebration of ‘’festival of honesty’’ when enthusiastic callers supported the government move to ban Rs 500 and 1000 notes in November 2016. Focus on fitness and yoga, #giveitup campaign for surrendering LPG subsidy, Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, conversation with then US President Barack Obama and gifting books instead of bouquets are among the episodes that made Mann Ki Baat
click with the audience, especially the young . Job is one of the areas that the people of the country want to hear about more in Mann Ki Baat, a survey by AIR had pointed out.
Even as the popularity of the programme may have dipped as the show progressed, it’s still attracting good revenue. According to a reply to a Lok Sabha question, Minister of State for Information & Broadcasting Rajyavardhan Rathore had said that revenues earned from Mann Ki Baat in 2016-17 stood at Rs 51.9 million, around 9 per cent more than the previous financial year.