With the BJP gearing up for crucial elections next year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday chaired a meeting of the Union Council of Ministers to review performance of key ministries.

In the marathon meeting lasting nearly five hours — held, unusually, at the Rashtrapati Bhavan’s cultural centre, the Prime Minister is learnt to have stressed on simplicity as a way of life and improving th ministers’ connect with the people.

In the meeting, termed as ‘Chintan Shivir’, presentations were made Union ministers Mansukh Mandaviya and Dharmendra Pradhan on ways to improve efficiency and maximum utilisation of both time and resources. According to sources, they shared tips on many issues, including some on selecting personal staff.

Modi, it is learnt, recalled late BJP leader and former Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar to cite examples on a simple life. He is learnt to have told the ministers that they should remember the proverb “sharing is caring,” and recalled the ‘tiffin meetings’ during his Gujarat days, where everyone brought their own tiffin in meetings and shared the food as well as ideas.

No official agenda was given to the ministers ahead of the meeting, it is learnt. According to officials, Rashtrapati Bhavan was chosen as the venue since the Prime Minister was keen to hold it with strict adherence of Covid-19 protocols and it was the only place where the 77-member council of ministers could meet with social distancing, officials said.

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