Shri Narendra Modi was at a funeral of a senior cameraman Gopal Bisht, who was among the journalists killed with late Madhavrao Scindia in that unfortunate plane crash when he received a phone call from none other than the then Prime Minister, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpaye.
“Where are you” asked Atal ji.
Shri Modi replied, “I am in a funeral” to which Atal ji said, “Oh! Obviously I cant talk when you are at a funeral” but he called Shri Modi to his residence that evening.
When Shri Modi met Atal ji, the Prime Minister remarked, “Delhi has made you very fat! You must go back to Gujarat!”
The message was perfectly understood by Shri Modi, who was surprised by this decision. Having never served as an MLA, this was a very big responsibility the party was entrusting him with but when the Prime Minister of India is insisting, who can say no.
In Shri Modi’s own words, he recalled, “I had not been to Gujarat for years. I called my party colleagues and told them- you are calling me but where will I go, I have no home there. I haven’t been to Gujarat in a while. They told me we will book a room in the circuit house but I insisted that I am not an MLA so I will pay the complete amount!”
Thus began Shri Modi’s innings as Gujarat Chief Minister. He went on to become the state’s longest serving CM and took oath a record 4 times.