Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Monday, made a surprise visit to the canteen in Parliament and ate lunch with fellow parliamentarians.
With the Parliament being in session, the canteen was milling with activity when PM Modi causally walked in to eat lunch at 1 pm. The canteen, run by Indian Railways, operates from Room number 70 on the first floor of the Parliament building.
The canteen staff and others present were surprised by his sudden arrival. The PM walked to a table already occupied by three other MPs and ordered lunch.
“Anything special, sir,” canteen in-charge BL Purohit asked the Prime Minister.
The PM responded by saying that he will eat whatever has been prepared for lunch and that there was no need to make special arrangements for him. “Jo hai wahi khilaiye…kuchh bhi. alag se intejam karne ki jarurat nahi hai,” he said.
Modi first asked for some water and then ate some fruit salad.
The canteen staff later served him veg thali (vegetarian platter) consisting of sarson ka saag, aloo subji, rajma, rice, roti and curd.
The total bill for the food was Rs. 29, PM Modi gave Rs. 100. The staff returned Rs. 71 as change.
Modi had three MPs for company at the table; among them were BJP MP from Bihar Chhedi Paswan and BJP Rajya Sabha member from Gujarat Shankar Bhai Vegad. Union Minister Piyush Goyal later joined in.
In total, there were around 25-30 MPs present in the canteen at that time; the PM mingled with them and chatted with them. He was there for over 25 minutes.
Realising that it was a “historic” occasion, Purohit requested the Prime Minister to write in a ‘Suggestion Book’ which he presented to him.
Modi wrote: “ann data sukhi bhava” and signed it.
It was probably the first time any Prime Minister had lunch in the canteen as a customer.
Rajiv Gandhi had once eaten in the canteen but not as Prime Minister, reports said.