In London for the ECFR book event, stayed in the St Jame’s Court Hotel not far from Buckingham Palace and a Tata Taj Hotel property. For the last few days prior to PM Modi’s visit this hotel had its top floors taken over by his security working with London Metroplitan Police. some 60 of them are in the hotel, roaming the place.
The main event seems less the pro forma meeting with David Cameron than the Wembley Stadium occasion where NRIs are expected to do the by now usual –throng Modi, cry themselves hoarse, with the huge Gujarati community in the vanguard and, in particular, celebrating one of their own.
The cribbing heard is mostly about the modus operandi employed by the Ram Madhav-led effort to drum up local support among Indians. The effort reportedly started with Indian companies with UK presence and leading Leaders in the community getting letters soliciting views about what the PM needs to do and to say. This letter promised that the best suggestions could result in these persons being allowed a meeting with Modi. This generated much interest. But it was followed up with letters asking for donations to fund the Wembley event! Many called this a sneaky sort of thing, and has turned off many.
Dispassionate observers note that unlike the Xi Jinping UK trip Modi’s tour is generating little “excitement”. After Bihar elections, moreover, the Indian PM’s political stock has so plummeted many say the Cameron govt is wondering about whether the BJP can deliver anything at all on any commitments hereafter.