India PM Modi advises new lawmakers on body language

India PM Modi advises new lawmakers on body language
In a speech marking India's 68th year of independence from British colonial rule, Prime Minister Modi acknowledges that times have changed since the Planning Commission for the 12th Five-Year plan, and promises that a new institution would be set up.

NEW DELHI - India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday offered guidelines on public conduct to first-time MPs of his right-wing party, including tips on body language, at a workshop near Delhi.

During a speech in a closed-door training session Modi advised Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmakers to cultivate their knowledge in an area of their choice and focus on the substance of their parliamentary speeches.

"Remember, people are observing your performance in the house but even outside," Modi, who became PM a month ago, told the 170 MPs attending the two-day session, according to a BJP statement.

"Our transition from opposition to treasury is not limited to moving few feet to the other side," the statement quoted him as saying.

He reminded the new parliamentarians that the party's landslide victory in the general election was "a significant transition and we must try to appreciate the meaning of this," the statement added.

The pro-business leader won on the promise to reform the ailing Indian economy after voters turned against the Congress party, which became embroiled in a string of corruption scandals during its decade in power.

BJP leader Jagdish Mukhi told reporters outside the venue of the workshop that Modi touched upon a host of issues relating to the public conduct of lawmakers.

"He (Modi) said your language should be sophisticated, he talked about how one's body language should be," said Mukhi, who is in charge of the party in Haryana state.

Mukhi said the prime minister acknowledged that he too was a first-time MP and should have stayed for the duration of the training to be addressed by other senior party leaders but bigger responsibilities awaited him.

The 63-year-old Modi was elected to parliament from the holy city of Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.

In a recent blog on his official website, he wrote that he had not had the luxury of a "honeymoon period" since his government took charge.

The administration has suffered a series of setbacks, including accusations of failing to act on widespread sexual violence, protests over train fare hikes, and clashes with regional parties over the official language of government communication.


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