US President Barack Obama today made a special mention of ‘chai pe charcha’, a reference to Narendra Modi’s pet theme to connect with the voters during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

Modi and Obama went for the brief walk at the sprawling Hyderabad House lawns before settling in a special enclosure where the two leaders continued one-on-one talks over tea, reflecting increasing bonhomie between the two leaders.

In a special gesture, Modi was seen pouring tea for his guest and handing it to him in a white cup.

“Prime Minister Modi, thank you for hosting me, including our ‘chai pe charcha’ We need more of those in the White House. But even as this visit is rich with symbolism, we made substantive progress,” the US President said during his joint media interaction with Prime Minister Modi.

During the April—May 2014 Lok Sabha elections campaign, Modi’s ‘chai pe charcha’ aimed at connecting with the electorate over a cup of tea had become a hit.

Modi had connected electronically with several of his supporters at these events. Modi had appeared on a giant screen at tea stalls with a cup of tea in hand and had answered pre-selected questions.

The BJP had hosted several such programmes across the country. The Election Commission had asked the BJP to take prior permission for organising its ‘chai pe charcha’ programme and ensure that the Model Code of Conduct is not violated at any cost.

Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar had triggered a controversy at a Congress meet in January last year by reportedly saying, “If he (Modi) wants, he can come and sell tea here at the AICC meet.”

“Narendra Modi cannot become the Prime Minister in the 21st century,” Aiyar had added. Later, he had accused the media of twisting his words.

Picking up the challenge, Modi had gone to town, saying he had been a tea seller at railway stations and proud to have been so.