NEW DELHI: Even though his own party members opposed his escalation as the Prime Ministerial candidate last year for the Lok Sabha elections, the man ruling the country today, Narendra Modi continues to spread his zeal across the nation.
The 14th Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi was key strategist for the Bharatiya Janata Party in the successful 1995 and 1998 Gujarat state election campaigns. He first became the Chief Minister of Gujarat in October 2001, being promoted to the office upon the resignation of his predecessor, Keshubhai Patel following the defeat of BJP in by-elections. In May 2014, he took oath as the Prime Minister of India enjoying a clean sweep in the General Elections 2014.
PM Modi was a global controversial man before he became the PM of India. He has not only been appreciated for strengthening the economic policies of Gujarat but also heavily criticized for the incidents surrounding the 2002 Gujarat violence.
Born on September 17, 65-year-old year Prime Minister was the third of six children born to Damodardas Mulchand Modi and his wife, Heeraben. While a teenager, Modi ran a tea stall with his brother around Ahmedabad bus terminus. After completing his schooling in Vadnagar, the key debater of his teen age began to work in the staff canteen of Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC), where he stayed till he became a full–time pracharak (propagator) of the RSS after which he took his degree in Political Science from Gujarat University.
During Modi’s tenure in New Delhi as the BJP’s national spokesman in the late 1990s, he went to the US for a three-month course on public relations and image management. This apparently now helps him to get the publicity he desires.
Narendra Modi’s abilities and leadership qualities were seen in the early days of his student life when he became the student leader of Akhil Bhartiya Vidhyarthi Parishad (All India Students Council). He played a prominent role in the anticorruption movement in 1974 in Gujarat.
He entered politics in 1987 by joining the Bharatiya Janata Party. Within a year, he was elevated to the level of General Secretary of the Gujarat unit of the party. In 1995 he was made the National Secretary of the party in-charge of five major states in India – a rare distinction. He traveled extensively throughout the world, which helped him to develop a global perspective.
After carving a niche for himself in the national politics as a master strategist, he took over as the Chief Minister of Gujarat on 7th October 2001.
Narendra Modi, undoubtedly one of the strongest pillars of the BJP despite several controversies surrounding him has been able to make his way for the big ticket. Some of his prominent controversies include:
Gujarat Riots of 2002
There was widespread Anti-Muslim violence throughout Gujarat after reports that a crowd of Muslims had attacked a train carrying mostly Hindu Pilgrims and set it on fire near Godhra railway station burning alive many of the passengers in 2002 during the Modi government.
The state government was then accused by the opposition of not taking enough action against the violence, and even disregarding it in some cases. The Modi government then imposed curfews, issued shoot-at-sight orders and called for the army to prevent the violence from worsening but the combined strength of the army and state police still proved inadequate.
In April 2009, the Supreme Court of India appointed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to inquire into the Gujarat government and Narendra Modi’s role in the incidents of communal violence. The SIT in December 2012 reported that they did not find any incriminating substantiation against Modi of intentionally permiting communal violence in the state.
Modi’s decision to move the bodies of the kar sevaks who had been burned to death in Godhra to Ahmedabad had been criticized for inflaming the violence. However, the SIT found his decision to be justified.
His remarks during a media interview on the same incident another time created unnecessary controversies. While defending himself against the 2002 riots, he claimed of using the full strength of his governance to avoid and protect the situation and holds no guilty feeling. The saffron man also shared his feeling of being sad about the riots, adding he would be sad even if a ‘puppy’ came under a car. He stated, “Any person if we are driving a car, we are a driver, and someone else is driving a car and we’re sitting behind, even then if a puppy comes under the wheel, will it be painful or not? Of course, it is. If I am a Chief Minister or not, I am still a human being! If something bad happens anywhere, it is natural to be sad.”
The ‘puppy’ comment gave a birth to a political uproar in the country with several parties such as Samajwadi Party, CPM, CPI and JD(U) claimed of Modi comparing Muslims to a ‘puppy’ and should apologize for the ‘humiliating’ remarks.
Uttarakhand Floods 2013
NaMo, the controversial man could not escape himself from the controversies related to the recent Uttrakhand floods tragedy. While the man who at his level best tried to rescue the victim of the natural disaster, a media report released a story saying that Modi had commissioned Boeings, SUVs, and luxury buses to rescue 15,000 Gujarati victims of the 2013 Uttarakhand floods. Though the newspaper later retracted the story issuing clarification saying that Modi’s government had assisted 15,000 UK flood victims irrespective of states rather than rescuing 15,000 Gujaratis as earlier reported, the issue was much heated up by the opposition.
Single… Yet Married
The relationship status of the BJP leader is probably the biggest mystery of his life. While he was popular across the globe as a ‘bachelor’ but it has been several times contested by critics pointing out that he once tied the knot with ‘Joshadaben’ who is now a school teacher.
An interview published on YouTube from the lady who is allegedly Mrs. Modi states, “I Jashodaben Modi, am the wife of Narendra Kumar Modi the son of Damodar Mulchanddas Modi, a resident of Kalavasudev Chachar, Vadnagar. I am working in Rajosana primary school. We were married in 1968. I am still keeping the book gifted by him, Sangharsh Ma Gujarat, and also have a picture of his. He was 22 to 25 years old when that picture was taken.
By possessing that book I feel that my husband is still with me even if he is far away. He tore away all the pictures of our marriage because he never wanted even a single photo to remain with me.”
Even though PM Modi has maintained muteness on the topic ever since its eruption, it is speculated that Modi was married as a child and one fine day walked out of all such relations.
Cancellation of US Tourist Visa in 2013
Despite all clarifications from the state government and SIT, it was still believed that the Narendra Modi was involved in February-March 2002 Gujarat horrific riots which killed over 2, 000 people. Still considering the doubts, NaMo was rejected the USA visa by a top American official. “Modi shall not be granted the privilege of US visa because of the very serious doubts that remain and that hang over Modi relative to his role in the horrific events of 2002 in Gujarat,” said Katrina Lantos Swett, Vice Chairwoman of the United States Commission on International
After strong controversies in India, US officials informed of considering visa NaMo if he applies in accordance with the American immigration law and policy. “If (the Gujarat) Chief Minister Modi applies for a visa, his application will be considered to determine whether he qualifies for a visa, in accordance with US immigration law and policy,” State Department Spokesperson Jen Psaki informed the Indian media.
Narendra Modi’s Skullcap Issue 2013
The not-so-secular image of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi yet another time came under limelight really for no reason this time. The gesture shown by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan of sporting a skullcap while greeting Muslims on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr aroused several questions for the saffron party where the Gujarat Chief Minister refused on wearing the skullcap in 2011 and instead accepting the shawl.
As the Bollywood face in the political world, Raza Murad took a jibe on Narendra Modi over a pity issue which was buried two years ago, the man once again became the talk of the leaders. Several politicians started making communal comments against the strong fighter of Rahul Gandhi for the upcoming elections
Did You Know?
•The major attraction of the BJP, Narendra Modi was born in an Other Backward Classes (OBC) grocer family in Vadnagar region of Gujarat. Since his childhood, Modi wanted to become a sanyasi. He was indeed always fascinated with Sadhus, different forms of worship and meditation.
Modi after completing his school education ran away from his family and home and visited several places such as Ramkrishna Ashram of Belur in West Bengal. Finally, he reached the Himalayas and wandered without purpose and stayed with few unfamiliar but yogic Sadhus for some months.
Post two years of wandering in the Himalayas without any money and accompanied with just two pairs of clothes, the struggler decided to leave the ‘sanyasi’ path and return home.
•Narendra Modi is an extremely particular man about his appearance in public. Always preferring trimmed beard and hair, he ensures that he looks elegant whenever he moves out in his simple way.
•Narendra Modi is a creative writer and poet. In his Gujarati language, his favourite topics to write include life and teachings of Hindutva icons. A big fan of Swami Vivekananda, Narendra Modi’s most recent election campaign was christened as ‘Vivekanand Yuva Vikas Yatra’.
With several challenges, struggles and controversies, the Prime Minister of India has evolved as one of the strongest man in the country today!
First Published | 17 September 2015 2:19 PM