Could PM Modi have emulated Trump?

4 min readJan 18, 2024

Dear Mahendra Arya ji,


Donald Trump’s winning the Iowa caucus, sealing his slot for a rematch with the incumbent US President Joe Biden for the forthcoming US Elections in November this year, reminded me of a blog I posted four years ago when he was the White House occupant.

It resonated because of Trump’s truckers linkage. Here is what I wrote:

Will PM Narendra Modi rub shoulders with transporters and drivers?”

This question became inevitable in the wake of United States President Donald Trump inviting the transporters/fleet owners (suited-and-booted, of course) and truck drivers (pant-and-shirt types) to the White House then for a discussion on the controversial Obamacare (healthcare legislation). Following this, the US President stepped out and climbed into the cabin of a spick and span truck parked in his lawns, much to the delight of all assembled.

Now, you understand the importance of my question, viz., will Prime Minister Narendra Modi invite the Indian transporters/fleet owners and truck drivers to discuss various important issues for both sides?

While Trump lost a second inning, Modi remained the Prime Minister of India throughout, and he continues to be as of today.

The current hit-and-run criminal law amendment imbroglio and the spontaneous truck drivers’ work stoppage made me wonder and ask the same question: Will the Indian Prime Minister invite them for a chai pe charcha or at least a listen-in type of interaction, if not a conversation with truckers (suited-and-booted types) and truck drivers?

Yes and no. Yes. The prime minister invited the original Rivigo boss, Deepak Garg, to address the who’s who of Indian bureaucracy and business groups when he unveiled the National Multimodal Master Plan two summers ago.

Again, Ramesh Agarwal of Agarwal Packers and Movers was part of the National Logistics Policy launch on September 17, 2022 (which happens to be the birthday of PM Modi’s birthday and Drivers Day). Both Garg and Agarwal represented the transport vertical brahmins!

What about drivers? No.

Will he host an evening tea with a chosen few truck drivers at 7 Lok Kalyan Marg? I don’t know.

It also brought back memories of my transport guru, the late Chittranjan Dass, sharing his unfulfilled dream of a Republic Day Plateau ferrying truck drivers as a mark of respect for their contribution to nation-building. Was he asking for the moon?

“What are you talking? Are not we regularly go to Parivahan Bhavan (Ministry of Road Transport & Highways) and interact with Nitin Gadkariji? We are not untouchable. If you have that impression, erase it quickly,” admonishes a senior transporter in Delhi when I posed this question.

That is precisely the point. Who was Gadkari’s counterpart in Washington when Trump was the US President? Elaine L Chao. In the US, their ministers are called Secretaries, and she was part of Trump’s cabinet. Yes, of course, even American transporters met her during their business. That’s routine. But, them shaking hands with Prez? Quite a deal. Big event.

Hang on…

What did veteran transporter and AIMTC/AITWA presiding deity at one point in time, the late Om Prakash Agarwal, tell me at his Cuttack residence in 2016:

“The transport industry’s voice or contribution is never understood or appreciated. Take, for instance, the case of film industry. It gives employment to a maximum of 4–5 lakh. Now look at the transport industry. Can you give me the name of the transporter who has been inducted as a Rajya Sabha member since the Independence? Okay. Now can you tell me the name of a transporter who has been awarded a Padma Sri even? Do we transporters not performing any duty to the nation? Are we not patriotic? Don t we deserve? Can you guess how many people are employed in the transport industry?”

So, Aryaji, a simple question: do you visualize the possibility — however remote it may be — of PM Modi sipping chai with truck drivers in the current truck drivers agitation scenario, if not at any highway dhaba, at least on the lawns of 7 Lok Kalyan Marg, his official residence? Will Modi replicate Trump in this respect?

Over to you, sir!


Indeed it was a great gesture when President Donald Trump honored truck drivers at White house for their great contribution during Corona year. I wondered, was our drivers’ contribution lesser?

American drivers did not have to suffer a sudden lock down without any advance intimation. Indian drivers had to fight out fear and deprivation on highway for weeks until they could reach their families.

Who kept hospitals running with supplies? Why during the lock down there was no shortage of food, milk or gas to Indian household ?

While Government was asking citizens to not to get out of the houses; why it was pleading to truck drivers to come on duty? Alas, no reward for all that!

Not even a mention in the list of frontline corona warriors. Even PM Modi did not find it appropriate to spare few words of encouragement to the truck drivers of the country.

Yes, once, when Oxygen supply had been hit and huge quantities of oxygen was being moved by road, Modi mentioned a truck driver but only for oxygen.

For a change Modi needed to take a leaf from the American president’s book on this. I wish the nation had been more kind to this community.




An avid watcher & practitioner in the world of communication