'I'm a common man, don't know protocols': PM Narendra Modi on 'hugplomacy'

PM Narendra Modi was recently mocked by Congress for giving warm hugs to international leaders. 

'I'm a common man, don't know protocols': PM Narendra Modi on 'hugplomacy'

New Delhi: Days after he was ridiculed by the Congress over his habit of giving warm hugs to international leaders with whom he shares good relations, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that he is a common man and not aware of laid protocols.

The Prime Minister said this in an interview to Zee News.

He said that had he been "trained", he too would have followed the laid down protocols of shaking hands and "looking left and right" with world leaders.

"Had I been trained like others...I too would have followed those protocols of looking right and left, had shaken hands. But I am an ordinary person...I only try to ensure that no harm ever happens to my country (due to this)," the PM told Zee News.

The PM, however, said that this has become his strength, as his openness was liked by the world leaders.

PM Modi also said that his basic nature has been "to convert adversity into opportunity". 

He made these remarks days after he was mocked by the Congress over his warm hugs, which the party dubbed PM Modi's 'hugplomacy'.

A few days ago, the Congress had posted a tweet mocking Modi for hugging world leaders, evoking a sharp reaction from the BJP that slammed it as "immature" and demanded an apology.

The Rahul Gandhi-led Congress made fun of what it called Prime Minister Narendra Modi's `hugplomacy` in a meme video which was released on Twitter, which evoked an equally sharp response from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The Congress posted the video on its official Twitter handle with a hashtag `#hugplomacy`.

The video was posted shortly after PM Modi received his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu upon his arrival at the Delhi airport.

In the video, the Congress apparently ridiculed Prime Minister Modi`s ways of hugging with several world leaders by describing them with comic tags along with gifs.

Reacting to it, the BJP said sarcastically that the video showed the "new" thinking of the grand old party under the leadership of Rahul Gandhi.

"The video is absolutely despicable. It is making fun of the Prime Minister of India that too with the other global leaders of the countries with whom we have good relations. This is a new thinking of the Congress Party under the supervision of Rahul Gandhi. It must be condemned in every possible manner," senior BJP leader Nalin Kohli said.

Reacting to it, PM Modi said, "When I became the Prime Minister, there was criticism that Modi neither knows nor understands anything which is outside Gujarat." 

"Everybody used to ask me how will I conduct my foreign policy. And in a way, this criticism was right because I did not have any experience. I got the benefit of not having experience. I did not have any baggage," he said.

Asked how he feels when he stands next to world leaders, he said, "My only feeling is that it is not Narendra Modi who is standing there but the representative of 1.25 billion people."

(With Agency inputs)

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