by R. VenuGopal, Bharat Times

While going to school in India, we used to read and hear stories of cleanliness abroad. An anecdote comes to mind rushing of an incident that happened in Paris many many decades ago. An Indian who was visiting Paris – was strolling down a street and enjoying his cigarette. When his fag came to an end, he just flicked it off – onto a road. If the anecdote was true, within seconds of his flicking off the cigarette, a car stops, the president of France comes out – picks up the cigarette butt and tells the man – “this is France sir, we do not throw cigarette butts onto streets. We take pride in keeping our country clean”.

The man from India was stunned and somewhat embarrassed.

And when now a video showing the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi picking up the stem fallen from the bouquet, – although many decades apart, this gesture of NaMo, will go down in history – saying more than is obvious.

In the video, Namo is seen coming out of the aircraft and walking to the officials present there. One of the woman officials hands over a bouquet to Modi and some of the flowers fall on the red carpet, which NaMo picked up.

It was a gesture of humbleness and simplicity by Prime Minister Narendra Modi which left Twitter users impressed and pleasantly surprised and gave them a lot to talk about.

PM Modi’s picking the stem and giving it to one of his security personnel was interpreted by some as Modi bringing his “Swachhta Abhiyan” to the United States.

“Was that a belief of not crushing part of the plant with feet or was it a gesture towards Swachhta Abhiyan?” asked a Twitter user.

Some interpreted this gesture of NaMo as his “down to earth nature”.

“A part of that bouquet fallen on ground was picked up by NAMO. Such is the down to earth nature of our PM that he doesn’t even cares for any protocol,” Rishi Mishra tweeted.

“All the best @narendramodi If notice carefully , he picked up the flower fallen from the bouquet of flowers. Shows his attention towards the smallest things. Simplicity of great leader,” Yogesh tweeted.

“Where PM Narendra Modi spontaneously picks up a flower or a stem, which had fallen on the ground from a bouquet presented to him, and hands it over to his security staff. Simplicity!” wrote another user.

“Liked the spirit and respect by @narendramodi towards a fallen stem of flower from the bouquet extended to him. Small but Priceless gesture by PM of India !” Tweeted Himanshu Prakash Meena.

PM Modi is in Houston in the US, to attend an event, especially orchestrated for him named ‘Howdy, Modi’.

PM Modi was welcomed by the Indian and American officials present at the airport to receive him. The director of Trade and International Affairs Christopher Olson, US ambassador to India Kenneth Juster and Indian envoy to the US Harsh Vardhan Shringla were among them.

Prime Minister Modi will be joined by US President Donald Trump and will address more than 50,000 Indian-Americans. The event is scheduled to be held on Sunday at a sprawling NRG Stadium.

PM Modi is on a week-long visit to the US – aiming to boost bilateral ties and present India as “a vibrant land of opportunities”. PM Modi will also address the 74th session of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, who has also arrived in the US will lock horns with Modi when Khan tries to raise the Kashmir issue in the UN General Assembly on September 27.

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