Narendra Modi is one of the most notable figures in the fabric of Indian Politics.
Full name: Narendra Damodardas Modi
Born: September 17, 1950, Vadnagar, Gujarat
Parents: Heeraben, Damodardas Mulchand Modi
Education: Master's Degree in Political Science from Gujarat University
Political party: BJP (Bharatiya Janta Party)
Key achievements: Longest serving Chief Minister of Gujarat, led BJP to huge electoral victories in 2002, 2007 and 2012, BJP’s Prime Ministerial Candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha Elections.
Narendra Damodardas Modi is one of the most notable figures in the scheme of Indian politics, especially in the new millennium. Modi is best known for his achievement of serving as the 14th Chief Minister of Gujarat. This is a title that doesn’t seem to part with him, because as of 2013, Narendra Modi is into his stunning fourth consecutive term as the head honcho of Gujarat.
Modi was born on September 17, 1950, to Heeraben and Damodardas Mulchand Modi, his mother and father respectively. He was the third among six children, who completed this family of grocers living in Vadnagar, Gujarat. Modi finished his schooling in Vadnagar itself, where his teacher termed him as an average student who had intense debating skills.
Along with one of his brothers, Modi ran a tea stall in his teenage days, around a bus terminus in Gujarat. He later began working in the staff canteen of Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation, where he grew to be a propagandist of the RSS (Rashtriya Swyamsevak Sangh). Following this, Modi went to Nagpur to receive RSS training, a prerequisite which he was expected to fulfill before taking up an official designation in the Sangh parivar.
During this period, Modi became the president of the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), in Gujarat. He also continued his work for the RSS by organizing agitations and distributing Sangh's pamphlets, especially at the time of the Indian national Emergency. On the personal front, Modi devoted equal time to qualify himself, and went on to graduate from Gujarat University with a Master's Degree in Political Science.
This period acted as a springboard for Modi to rise prominently in the eyes of BJP, which prompted the RSS to recommend Modi’s name to the BJP in 1987. After joining the BJP, Modi emerged as one of the key contributors to Murli Manohar Joshi’s highly successful Ekta Yatra. In the 1995 state elections of Gujarat, Modi weaved a formidable strategy around the BJP, which led to its win by a respectable margin.
Gaining confidence from events like these, the BJP put further trust in Modi, by making him responsible for the party’s activities in the states of Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. Modi was handed another big responsibility of being the National Secretary of the BJP, with the Gujarat state elections of 1998 in view. Modi came through this test as well by resolving chronic factions within the party, and leading BJP to a second straight victory in the state.
However, despite all this success, Narendra Modi’s biggest calling was yet to arrive. In the year 2001, Gujarat was struck by a devastating earthquake. Hundreds died and thousands were injured. The then Chief Minister of Gujarat, Keshubhai Patel was going through a phase of tremendous turmoil, both personally and professionally. With a series of corruption charges, allegations of power abuse, inefficient administration, and not to forget his own dwindling health, the Chief Minister was cutting a sorry and forlorn figure. The BJP decided to intervene in the affairs of the state by putting its faith in Modi once again.
On 7 October 2001, Modi was appointed as the new and the 14th Chief Minister of Gujarat. At the turn of the decade, this decision proved to be one of the best ever made by the BJP. Modi not only flourished as the caretaker of Gujarat, but also put Gujarat on the road to fantastic economic development. It would also not be an exaggeration to say that Modi put Gujarat on the world map, as a lucrative destination for investment, real estate, business, industrial growth and development, etc.
In his years as the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Modi is considered to have championed the issues of small farmers, development of SME’s (Small and Medium Enterprises), and to have also eliminated the hindrances to progress such as corruption and bribery. Modi considerably reworked the system of farming and agriculture in the state, by providing consistent resources like power, seeds, fertilizers, etc. to the farmers. He also made changes to the state’s economic policies to ensure a free-flow of trade, services and business. According to a nationwide statistical survey, Gujarat recorded a compound annual growth rate of 10.97% for the decade 2001 – 2010, which is the highest among all Indian states.
Despite his achievements, Modi's tenure as the chief minister of Gujarat hasn't been without a fair share of criticisms. There have been constant allegations of abuse of power, inflammatory speeches, and most notably his implication as being an abettor in the Godhra riots of 2002. However, Modi remained unfazed by all of this and got elected to power once again by the people of Gujarat in the state elections of 2012. Aiming for success in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections of India, the BJP has pitted Narendra Modi as its trump card and Prime Ministerial Candidate.