For past few months, Narendra Modi has been mentioned as the next Prime Minister in India in the event of the ruling UPA coalition government is not in a position to form a unity government due to its involvement in several cases of corruption. India, led by Prime Minister Manmoham Singh, has not mollified his critics and addressed the allegations of corruption against his administration.
Although Modi’s name has been appearing frequently since the Godhra case of 2002, his increasing popularity suggests that he might be the suitable choice for the prime ministership. His youth and personality serves as a positive for many voters. Other qualities like strict discipline, self-less service and sacrifice, determination and service to the downtrodden and poor, irrespective of caste, creed, religion and community, are the by-products of his full time association with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, an association which is fully committed to the cause of welfare and progress for the whole society.
Modi has demonstrated courage in his fight against terrorism while serving as the Chief Minister of Gujarat. As he once commented, “Terrorism is worse than a war. A terrorist has no rules. A terrorist decides when, how, where and whom to kill. India has lost more people in terror attacks than in its wars.”
His tenure as Chief Minister of Gujarat began on 7 October 2001, following the resignation of his predecessor, Keshubhai Patel, following the defeat of BJP in the by-elections. He became the longest serving Chief Minister in Gujarat’s history serving for 2063 days continuously. He was elected again for a third term on 23 December 2007 in the state elections, which he had cast as a “referendum on his rule.”
During his tenure as Chief Minister, he launched several programmes. Among them: Panchamrut Yojana, a five-pronged strategy for an integrated socio-economic development of Gujarat which included Sujalam Sufalam, a scheme of water management and conservation to create water grid resources in Gujarat, an innovative step towards water conservation and its appropriate utilization.
The programme also included, Krishi Mahotsav, agricultural research labs for the land development, Chiranjeevi Yojana, a programme for reducing infant mortality rate, Matru Vandana, which provided preventive and curative services under the Reproductive and Child Health Programme, Beti Bachao, a campaign against female infanticide to improve sex ratio, Jyotigram Yojana, which provided electricity to every village, Karmayogi Abhiyan, a programme to educate and train government employees, Kanya Kelavani Yojana, which encouraged female literacy and education, and, Balbhog Yojana, a scheme for midday meals, which encouraged school attendance for students from poor backgrounds.
The text of these programmes, illustratess his commitment to people’s welfare and their social, economic and cultural development. Their implementation is personally supervised and monitored by Modi himself. As a result, Gujrat today, is a model of social and economic progress, law and order, education, health, industrial and economic growth, and infrastructure development.
Narendra Modi was born on 17th September 1950, to a middle class Modh family in Vadnagar in Mehsana District which then belonged to the state of Bombay. He completed his schooling in Vadnagar. He earned a master’s degree in Political Science from Gujarat University. He volunteered to serve the soldiers in transit at railway stations during the Indo-Pak war in the mid-sixties. He has remained a member of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh since his early youth and also as a Pracharak during his university years.
As a young man, he joined the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), a student wing of RSS. He was also involved in the anti-corruption Nav Nirman (‘Reconstruction’) Movement. In 1998, he was chosen by L K Advani, the prominent leader of the BJP, to direct the election campaign in Gujarat and in Himachal Pradesh. He energized the party cadre thereby proving his merit.
In partnership with another leader, Shankarsingh Vaghela, Modi created a strong cadre base in Gujarat which illustrated that Modi was a master strategist as the party started gaining political mileage and formed a coalition government at the center in April 1990. This partnership fell apart within a few months, but the BJP came to power with a two-thirds majority on its own in Gujarat in 1995. Since then, the BJP has been governing Gujarat due to his able and competent leadership. In 1995, Modi was appointed the National Secretary of the party and five major states where placed under his charge. In 1998, he was promoted to the General Secretary (Organization), a post he held until October 2001.
Despite his performance as a Chief Minister of Gujarat and the prospects that he will be chosen PM by a majority of people in the country, he faces a very tough challenge from the Muslim community who argue that Modi must be brought to justice. He also is described as an incendiary politician, with a sardonic whit who can sometimes be churlish when speaking in public which sometimes provokes and also hurts the sentiments of minority communities. Nonetheless, Modi has also tried to turn his image from a firebrand Hindu Nationalist politician into an able and competent administrator capable of making responsible decisions should be become India’s next prime minister.