THE COMMON MAN WHO BECAME THE PM CANDIDATE – NARENDRA MODI
Born on September 17th , 1950 at Vadnagar, a small town in Mehsana district of North Gujarat, Shri Narendra Modi grew up in a culture that instilled in him the values of generosity, benevolence and social service. During the India-Pak war in the mid sixties, even as a young boy, he volunteered to serve the soldiers in transit at railway stations. In 1967, he served the flood affected people of Gujarat. Endowed with excellent organizational capability and a rich insight into human psychology, he served in Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) and played a prominent role in various socio-political movements in Gujarat.
Right from his childhood days he was confronted with many odds and obstacles, but he transformed challenges into opportunities by sheer strength of character and courage. Particularly when he joined college and University for higher education, his path was beset with tough struggles. But in the battle of life he has always been a fighter, a true soldier. Having put his step forward he never looked back. He refused to drop out or be defeated. It was this commitment which enabled him to complete his post graduation in political science. He started with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a socio-cultural organization with a focus on social and cultural development of India and imbibed the spirit of selflessness, social responsibility, dedication and nationalism.
While serving in the RSS, Shri Narendra Modi played several important roles on various occasions including the 1974 Navnirman anti-corruption agitation and the harrowing 19-month (June 1975 to January 1977) long Emergency when the fundamental rights of Indian citizens were strangled. Modi kept the spirit of democracy alive by going underground for the entire period and fighting a spirited battle against the fascist ways of the then central government.
He entered mainstream politics in 1987 by joining the BJP. Just within a year, he was elevated to the level of General Secretary of the Gujarat unit. By that time he had already acquired a reputation for being a highly efficient organizer. He took up the challenging task of energizing the party cadres in right earnest. The party started gaining political mileage and formed a coalition government at the centre 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.
Between 1988 and 1995, Shri Narendra Modi was recognized as a master strategist who had successfully gained the necessary groundwork for making the Gujarat BJP the ruling party of the state. During this period, Shri Modi was entrusted with the responsibility of organizing two crucial national events, the Somnath to Ayodhya Rath Yatra (a very long march) of Shri L.K. Advani and a similar march from Kanyakumari (the southernmost part of India) to Kashmir in the North. The ascent of the BJP to power at New Delhi in 1998 has been attributed to these two highly successful events, substantially handled by Shri Modi.
In 1995, he was appointed the National Secretary of the party and given the charge of five major states in India – a rare distinction for a young leader. In 1998, he was promoted as the General Secretary (Organization), a post he held until October 2001, when he was chosen to be the Chief Minister of Gujarat, one of the most prosperous and progressive states of India. During his stint at the national level, Shri Narendra Modi was given the responsibility to oversee the affairs of several state level units, including the sensitive and crucial state of Jammu and Kashmir and the equally sensitive north-eastern states. He was responsible for revamping the party organization in several states. While working at the national level, Shri Narendra Modi emerged as an important spokesman for the party and played a key role on several important occasions.
During this period, he travelled extensively across the world and interacted with eminent leaders of several countries. These experiences not only helped him develop a global perspective but also intensified his passion to serve India and lead it towards the socio-economic supremacy in the comity of nations.
In October 2001, he was called upon by the party to lead the Government in Gujarat. When Shri Modi ‘s government was sworn in on October 7, 2001, the economy of Gujarat was reeling under the adverse effects of several natural calamities, including a massive earthquake in January 2001. However Shri Narendra Modi, a master strategist, who was enriched by national and international exposure and experience, decided to take the bull by its horns.
The biggest challenge that he had to face, when he took over as the Chief Minister, was the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the areas affected by the massive earthquake of January 2001. Bhuj was a city of rubble and thousands of people were living in temporary shelters without any basic infrastructure. Today Bhuj is proof of how Shri Narendra Modi has turned adversity into an opportunity for holistic development.
Even when the reconstruction and rehabilitation was going on, Shri Narendra Modi did not lose sight of the bigger picture. Gujarat had always focused on industrial growth. Shri Narendra Modi decided to correct the imbalance by focusing appropriately on social sectors for an integrated socio-economic growth. He conceived the Panchamrut Yojana – a five-pronged strategy for an integrated development of the state.
Under his leadership, Gujarat is witnessing massive transformation in several sectors including education, agriculture, healthcare and several others. He developed a clear vision of his own for the future of the state, launched policy-driven reform programmes, reoriented government’s administrative structure and successfully put Gujarat on the road to prosperity. His intentions and capacity were noticed within the first 100 days of his coming to power. Little wonder that these skills coupled with his administrative acumen, clear vision and integrity of character translated into a landslide victory in the December 2002 general elections and the Modi government was voted back to power with a massive majority of 128 seats in a house of 182. The spectacular performance continued in 2007 when in yet another election Shri Modi led the BJP to a record win.
Shri Narendra Modi completed record 4000 days in service of the people of Gujarat on 17th September 2012. He has been blessed by the support of the people of Gujarat in three successive elections. After leading the party to victory in 2002 and 2007 (117 seats) elections, Shri Modi led the BJP to another victory at the hustings during the 2012 Gujarat Assembly Elections. The BJP emerged victorious in 115 seats and Shri Modi was sworn-in as the CM of Gujarat for the 4th consecutive time on 26th December 2012.
Today, people’s expectations have been more than fulfilled. Today Gujarat is leading the nation in a variety of sectors be it e-Governance, investments, poverty eradication, power, SEZs, road development, fiscal discipline and many more. Its growth story is not based on the development of any one sector but on the development of all three sectors (agriculture, industry and services). Behind the robust growth of Gujarat is Shri Modi’s Mantra of Sabka Saath, Sabka Vikas and his emphasis on Pro-people, pro-active good governance (P2G2) where he has made the people of Gujarat active partners in the state’s progress.
Fighting against all odds, he ensured that the Narmada dam reached 121.9m. Height – He even observed a fast to counteract those obstructing the construction. “Sujalam Sufalam” – a scheme to create a grid of water resources in Gujarat is yet another innovative step towards water conservation and its appropriate utilization.
Certain novel ideas like introduction of Soil Health Cards, Roaming Ration Cards and Roaming School Cards show his concern for the most common man of the state.
His initiatives such as Krishi Mahotsav, Chiranjeevi Yojana, Matru Vandana, Beti Bachao campaign (save the girl child), Jyotigram Yojana, and Karmayogi Abhiyan, E-Mamta, eMPOWER, SCOPE, iCreate etc. aim at multi-dimensional development of Gujarat. The vision, concept and time-bound implementation of such initiatives is what makes Shri Narendra Modi stand out as a true statesman who thinks of the next generation against the backdrop of politicians who can only think as far as the next elections.
Widely regarded as a youthful and energetic mass leader with innovative thoughts, Shri Narendra Modi has successfully communicated his vision to the people of Gujarat and has been able to impart faith, trust and hope among more than 6 crore people of Gujarat. His outstanding memory of addressing lacs of people, even common men, by their first name has made him the darling of the masses. His immense respect for spiritual leaders has helped build bridges across religions. A wide cross-section of the people of Gujarat, cutting across income groups, religions and even political affiliations, continue to adore Shri Narendra Modi as an able and visionary leader who is transparently and convincingly uplifting the quality of their lives. A skilled orator and a deft negotiator, Shri Modi has earned the love of people from villages and cities alike. His following encompasses people belonging to every faith and religion and every economic section of society.
It is under his able leadership that Gujarat has bagged several awards and accolades from all over the world – including UN Sasakawa Award for disaster reduction, Commonwealth Association for Public Administration and Management (CAPAM) award for innovations in governance, UNESCO award, CSI award for e-Governance etc. The very fact that Shri Narendra Modi has been ranked as the number one Chief Minister by the public for three consecutive years speaks volumes for his achievements.
His masterstroke of putting Gujarat on the global map essentially is ongoing campaign called the Vibrant Gujarat that truly transforms Gujarat into one of the most preferred investment destinations. The 2013 Vibrant Gujarat Summit drew participation from over 120 nations of the world, a commendable feat in itself.
Gujarat has been registering double digit growth rates for the past several years. While Gujarat continues to accelerate on the path of growth and development, the voyager continues to walk tirelessly, leaving behind his footprints on the sands of time, transforming milestones into milestones, step by step.
Even an overview of his journey in politics from grass-roots to the helm will speak volumes of his ever rising stature as a leader.
If one looks for the ideas and ideals of leadership, here is a classic role model showing how the youth, endowed with strength of character, courage, dedication and vision at once flowers into creative leadership. It is not quite common to see, in public life, a man with such profound spirit of service and fixity of purpose; loved so well by the people whom he loves so deeply. He has, in not so long span of time, emerged as the man of destiny.
2014 Indian general election
On 31 March 2013 Modi was appointed to the BJP parliamentary board, the highest decision-making body in the party, and at a meeting of the party’s national executive on 9 June he was appointed chair of the BJP’s central election campaign committee for the 2014 general election. BJP founding member L. K. Advani resigned his party posts after the appointment, citing concern with leaders who were “concerned with their personal agendas”. His resignation, which was described as being a protest against Modi’s elevation, was withdrawn the following day at the urging of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat. In September 2013, the BJP announced that the chief minister would be their candidate for prime minister in the 2014 Lok Sabha election. Other BJP leaders also initially expressed opposition to Modi’s candidature. Modi’s nomination also drew attention for his reputation as “one of contemporary India’s most controversial and divisive politicians.”
Modi played a dominant role in the BJP’s 2009 general-election campaign. Several people who voted for the BJP stated that if Modi had not been the prime-ministerial candidate, they would have voted for another party. The BJP projected an image of Modi as a strong, masculine leader, who would be able to take difficult decisions. The focus on Modi as an individual was unusual for a BJP election campaign. The election was described as a referendum on Narendra Modi.
During the campaign, Modi focused on the corruption scandals under the previous INC government, and played on his image as a politician who had created a high rate of GDP growth in Gujarat. Modi projected himself as a person who could bring about “development,” without focus on any specific policies . His message found support among young Indians and among middle-class citizens. The BJP under Modi was able to downplay concerns about the protection of religious minorities and Modi’s commitment to secularism, areas in which he had previously received criticism. Prior to the election Modi’s image in the media had centered around his role in the 2002 Gujarat riots, but during the campaign the BJP was able to shift this to a focus on Modi’s neoliberal ideology and the Gujarat model of development. Although the BJP avoided issues of Hindu nationalism to an extent, Hindutva remained a significant part of its campaign.Through the campaign, the BJP received significantly more positive media coverage than its competitors, particularly in the northern and western parts of the country. Commentators attributed this to Modi’s influence in the area. The campaign also made extensive use of advertising in vernacular media sources, portraying Modi as the victim of a “news media conspiracy” among the English language sources. However, the BJP’s campaign was assisted by its wide influence in the media. Modi’s campaign blitz cost approximately INR 5000 crores ($830 million), and received extensive financial support from corporate donors. In addition to more conventional campaign methods, such as rallies and the use of print media, Modi also made extensive use of social media, and addressed more than 1000 rallies via hologram appearances. The election was described as “India’s first social media election.
The BJP won 31% of the vote, and more than doubled its tally in the Lok Sabha to 282, and became the first party to win a majority of seats on its own since 1984. The results were described as a pro-Modi “wave.” Voter unhappiness with the INC, as well as with regional parties in North India, was another reason for the success of the BJP. The support network of the RSS played a role in Modi’s success. Scholars studying the election also stated that Modi had an ability to attract supporters who would campaign for him, thus strengthening his position as a candidate but making the party’s victory relatively fragile. In states such as Uttar Pradesh in which the BJP performed well, it drew exceptionally high support from upper-caste Hindus. It won only 10 percent of the Muslim vote, which was nonetheless more than it had won before. It performed particularly well in parts of the country that had recently experienced violence between Hindus and Muslims.
The magnitude of the BJP’s victory led many commentators to say that the election constituted a political realignment away from progressive parties and towards the right-wing BJP. Modi’s tweet announcing his victory in the election was the most re-tweeted in India, and was described as being emblematic of the political realignment away from a Nehruvian secular, socialist state towards capitalism and Hindu cultural nationalism.
Modi himself was a candidate for the Lok Sabha in two constituencies: Varanasi and Vadodara. He won in both constituencies, defeating Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal in Varanasi and Madhusudan Mistry of the INC in Vadodara by 570,128 votes. The BJP-led NDA won the general election overall and the INC experienced its worst-ever defeat. Modi, who was unanimously elected leader of the BJP after his party’s victory, was appointed prime minister by India’s president.To comply with the law that an MP cannot represent more than one constituency, he vacated the Vadodara seat.
Shri Narendra Modi is a great dreamer, who has the remarkable ability to transform his dreams into reality. His supreme dream is the regeneration and transformation of Gujarat, and eventually his motherland emerging as a developed and powerful nation. His dream for India encompasses an extensive range – one that vitally fosters agricultural research, protection of the environment, infrastructure as the lifeline of industry and global investments. In short, the emergence of a new and happy society celebrating the endless festival of life! Shri Narendra Modi has a reputation for being a hard taskmaster and strict disciplinarian but at the same time he is an embodiment of strength and compassion.
Here is a man who has great faith in education as a means of integral human development and progress to take society far beyond the encircling darkness, gloom and poverty. He emphasises the spread of education especially that of girls which has so far been largely neglected.
Shri Narendra Modi’s love for education is revealed in his respect for teachers and in Kanya Kelavani Yojana, an initiative which is very close to his heart, ushering in an era of enlightenment and empowerment right at the grass root level. Where else will you find a chief minister camping in remote villages in the heat and dirt to encourage parents to educate their daughters?
With a profound interest in technology and science, Shri Narendra Modi has sculpted Gujarat into an e governed state and has fostered several innovative applications of technology. Initiatives such as Swagat Online and Tele Fariyad have brought in e-transparency and put the citizens in direct contact with the highest office in administration. It is so rare to find a chief minister lending such an attentive ear to the grievances of the common man and ensuring that the issues get resolved in a definite time frame.
Shri Narendra Modi, a big believer in people, has skilfully led the half a million strong team of government employees into new realms of a proactive work culture through a ‘continuous learning’ initiative called Karmayogi Maha Abhiyan. Gujarat has a chief minister so concerned about transforming Sarkari Karmacharis into Asar Kari Karmayogis (a band of effective workers).
Shri Narendra Modi is both a realist and an idealist with robust optimism. He has imbibed the noble view that not failure but low aim is a crime. He values clarity of vision, sense of purpose and diligent perseverance as essential qualities for achievement in any walk of life. Concern for his land and people has been uppermost in his mind.