Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to a group of journalists on Monday, as part of outreach to the media ahead of his Cabinet's expansion on Tuesday. Coming soon after his first television interview to a private channel, this level of accessibility has meant more chances for the prime minister to answer journalists' questions.

Some of these have included his trademark rhetorical flourish. For example, when asked about his government's commitment to the "minimum government, maximum governance" slogan – which has gone somewhat off the rails in practice – Modi invoked the traditional char dham pilgrimage.

"In Hindu mythology, one would get Moksh if one took a journey to Chardham. But in India a file never used to get Moksh even if it took 20 dhams. This is changing."

Most of his other answers were along expected lines, talking about the obstructionism of just one party in the Opposition, insisting that talk of scams and despondency has completely disappeared and insisting that allegations of jobless growth doesn't take into account more intangible factors.

Giving written answers to the Business Standard after the interaction, Modi made an interesting note of his approach to subsidies.

"It is sad that in India, many intellectuals have adopted the thought process of those economists from rich countries who dislike subsidies, regardless of their nature. In a poor country, it is a primary responsibility of government to look after the poor and handhold them. The challenge in such countries is not whether to help the poor but how to help the poor."

The most telling of responses, and the most typical, came as a reaction to a question about the biggest regret Modi has had, now that he has been in power for more than two years. It did not involve the Pathankot attacks or Dadri or the NSG failure and China or 18 months of poor exports or the failure of the Land Bill or the Delhi and Bihar losses or... the list could go on.

Instead, with his eyes always on the narrative, Modi said his biggest regret involved the media, and in particular not being able to convince a "section" of "our point of view."

"As regards regrets, I am not sure if my answer will be to your liking. Before and during the parliamentary elections, there was a section of the media which strongly hoped that we would not win. My regret is that in the last two years, I have not been able to convince or persuade that section regarding our point of view. My challenge is to win over these skeptics, and persuade them of our sincerity and good intentions."