Indian Politics & Elections Blog

Narendra Modi

Narendra Modi was born on 17 September 1950 to a family of grocers in Vadnagar in Mehsana district of what was then Bombay State (present-day Gujarat), India. He completed his schooling in Vadnagar, where a teacher described him as being an average student but a keen debater. He began work in the staff canteen of Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation, where he stayed till he became a full–time pracharak (campaigner) of the RSS. Modi remained a pracharak in the RSS while he completed his Master’s degree in political science from Gujarat University.

The RSS seconded Modi to the BJP in 1987. While Shankarsingh Vaghela and Keshubhai Patel were the established names in the Gujarat BJP at that time, Modi rose to prominence after organising Murli Manohar Joshi’s Ekta yatra (journey for unity).

Modi became the General Secretary of the BJP and was transferred to New Delhi where he was assigned responsibility for the party’s activities in Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. In 1998, Modi was promoted to the post of National Secretary of the BJP. While selecting candidates for the 1998 state elections in Gujarat, Modi sidelined people who were loyal to Vaghela and rewarded those who favoured Patel, thus ending factional divisions within the party. His strategies were key to winning those elections.

On 7 October 2001, Modi was appointed the Chief Minister of Gujarat and was assigned the responsibility to prepare the BJP for elections in December 2002. As Chief Minister, Modi’s ideas of governance revolved around privatisation and small government, which stood at odds with what Aditi Phadnis has described as the “anti–privatisation, anti–globalisation position” of the RSS.

In the aftermath of the violence(2002, Gujrat Voilence), there were calls for Modi to resign from his position as chief minister of Gujarat. The opposition parties stalled the national parliament over the issue. Both the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and the Telugu Desam Party (TDP), allies of the BJP, also asked for Modi’s resignation, as did Jayalalithaa, the then-Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu and leader of the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK). Modi submitted his resignation and the state Assembly was dissolved. In the subsequent elections the BJP, led by Modi, won 127 seats in the 182-member assembly. Modi used extreme anti-Muslim rhetoric during the campaign.

Modi had completed 2,063 consecutive days as chief minister of Gujarat in July 2007, making him the longest-serving holder of that post. The BJP won the 2007 election, gaining 122 of the 182 seats in the state assembly, and Modi continued in office as chief minister. Modi’s government has worked to brand Gujarat as a state of dynamic development and economic growth and prosperity.

In March 2013, Modi was appointed as member of the BJP Parliamentary Board, its highest decision-making body, and also as a Chairman of the party’s Central Election Campaign Committee. Modi was selected to head the poll campaign for 2014 parliamentary election.

In September 2013, BJP announced Modi as prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

British economist Jim O’Neill, author of the BRIC report, wrote on his blog that Modi is “good on economics”, one of the things that “India desperately needs in a leader. In August 2013, financial analyst Chris Wood, chief strategist of CLSA, wrote in his weekly Greed & Fear that “the Indian stock market’s greatest hope is the emergence of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate.

In three opinion polls conducted by news agencies and magazines, Narendra Modi was declared the preferred choice for the post as Prime Minister in the forthcoming parliamentary elections.

Narendra Modi was declared the Best Chief Minister in the country,In a nationwide survey conducted in 2006 by India Today magazine. He won Asian Winner of the fDi Personality of the Year Award for 2009 by FDi Magazine.He got e-Ratna award by the Computer Society of India.


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