Narendra Modi

Narendra Damodardas Modi is an Indian politician and the 15th Prime Minister of the Republic of India. Modi, a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), was Chief Minister of Gujarat from 2001 to 2014.


Modi was born on 17 September 1950 to a middle class family in northern Mehsana district of Gujarat. He completed his schooling in Vadnagar and gained a masters graduate degree in Political Science from Gujarat University. As a young man, he joined the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, a student organization and was involved in the anti-corruption Nav Nirmāṇ ("Reconstruction") Movement. After working as a full time organizer for the organization, he was later nominated as its representative in the Bharatiya Janata Party. He joined the Bharatiya Janata Party in early 1987. He helped maintain the relations between the RSS and the BJP. In 1988 he became the General Secretary of the Gujarat State BJP unit. In 1995 he became the National Secretary of the party with the charge of five major states. He is believed to be a protégé of Lal Krishna Advani, who is a senior leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party himself. Advani has praised Modi on numerous occasions, referring to him as "a leader who, after being subjected to a malicious and prolonged campaign of vilification, has been able to impress even his critics with his determination, single-minded focus, integrity and a wide array of achievements in a relatively short time."

Chief Ministership

Gujarat earthquake

In October 2001 Modi was asked by BJP to head the government in Gujarat. At this time the state was facing a lot of problems due to recent natural calamities like the massive Gujarat Earthquake in January 2001. In this critical situation Modi is credited with starting immediate work to re-organize and stimulate the local economy.

Economic growth

Modi took charge of Gujarat when its economy was shrinking and the domestic growth was stagnant.. Faced with massive economic losses he re-organised the government's administrative structure and embarked upon a massive cost-cutting exercise. As a result of his elaborate efforts Gujarat registered a GDP growth rate of over 10% during his first tenure. This was the highest growth rate among all the Indian states and was not missed by the media. Continuing this extra-ordinary run, over the last year GDP growth rate was registered at 11.5%.

Gujarat violence

In February 2002, while Narendra Modi was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, violence broke out across the state claiming around 1000 lives. Independent estimates by human rights groups and NGOs place the figure higher to around 2000. The official estimate stated that 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus were killed, 223 people were reported missing and 2,500 were injured. More than one hundred and fifty thousand people were displaced. Organisations such as Human Rights Watch criticised the Indian government for its failure to address the resulting humanitarian crisis. Overwhelming majority of the displaced were Muslims who had to flee their homes for refugee camps due to riots. The root cause of riots was attributed to the Godhra Train Burning incident in which 58 Hindu Kar Sevaks were burnt alive in a train carriage. The Banerjee committee, set up by Railway Minister Lalu Prasad in September 2004, in its report submitted in 2005 had said the burning of S-6 coach of Sabarmati express on February 27, 2002 was an accident. The Nanavati Commission however termed the Sabarmati express incident as a 'pre-planned conspiracy' and gave a clean chit to Mr. Modi

Investigations, judicial and non-governmental

Subsequent reports from Human Rights Watch and the national Human Rights Commission claimed that Modi and his ministers had a tacit, if not explicit, complicity in the riots. The report was quoted and expanded on by the United States State Department's country human rights reports for 2003. The National Human Rights Commission criticized the government, pointing to "a comprehensive failure on the part of the State Government of Gujarat to control persistent violations of rights". The claims of Human Rights Watch and associated groups were rejected by Modi, the BJP and its supporters as politically motivated.

A judicial commission constituted to examine allegations of Gujarat state administration's involvement in the riots of 2002 has said twice so far that there was no evidence as yet to implicate either Modi or his administration in the riots.

An October 2007 report by the investigative newsmagazine Tehelka quoted several Sangh Parivar activists claiming that Modi was personally aware of the planning for the riots. However this was rejected by the Nanavati Commission. Some political journalists and politicians have subsequently questioned the veracity of Nanavati Commission's report.

Political fallout

As an aftermath of the riots, 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. Even DMK and TDP, allies of the BJP, asked for Modi's resignation. Modi submitted his resignation to the Governor and recommended the dissolution of the 10th Gujarat Legislative Assembly. In the following state re-elections the BJP, led by Modi, won 127 seats in the 182-member assembly.

Denied entry into USA

The United States revoked a visa for Modi the following year, on the accusation that he was responsible for violations of religious freedom as per the International Religious Freedom Act of 1998. He was again denied a visa to the United States in August of 2008 for his human and religious rights violations. The Coalition against Genocide (CAG) said that they have urged the state Department to put a lifetime ban on issuing a US visa to Narendra Modi.

Indian PM Manmohan Singh criticized the decision as anti-India. Even though Mr. Singh belongs to the opposition

2007 elections

Modi's 2007 election campaign was marked with some passionate speeches reflecting his vision for Gujarat and his aggressive leadership. One such speech was given at Magrol in response of Sonia Gandhi's speech calling him a "merchant of death", and referred to Sohrabuddin's killings. For this speech the Election Commission of India, a constitutional body governing election proceedings in India, cautioned Modi as it considered it as indulging in an activity which may aggravate existing differences between different communities (namely Hindu-Muslim), create mutual hatred and cause communal tensions. This amounted to violation of the provision of clause [1] and [3] of the Model Code of Conduct during an election campaign. However a similar procedure was not brought against Sonia Gandhi causing a lot of furore in Modi's supporters.

Position on terrorism

On 18 July 2006, Modi delivered a speech criticizing Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh "for his reluctance to revive anti-terror legislations" such as the Prevention of Terrorism Act. He asked the Centre to empower states to invoke tougher laws in the wake of the blasts in Mumbai. Quoting Modi:

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.

Narendra Modi frequently says that if the BJP wins the next General Election in India, they will honor the 2004 Supreme Court judgement to hang Afzal Guru. Afzal was convicted of terrorism in the 2001 Indian Parliament attack in 2004 by the Supreme Court of India and is in Tihar Jail.

During the November 2008 Mumbai attacks, on Thursday 27 November, Narendra Modi held a meeting to discuss waterfront security along the coastline. At the conclusion of the meeting, it was decided that a number of steps be taken to improve security:

  • Increase the number of police stations along the coast to 50 (from 10)
  • Increase the number of police to 1500 from 250
  • 30 modern high-speed surveillance boats (there are currently none)

Awards and Recognition


  • Chitralekha awarded him the "Person of the Year" 2005.
  • India Today magazine awareded him the best Chief Minister in India.
  • Rajiv Gandhi Foundation said that Gujarat is the best administered state in India.



Ratings Result

Score: 8.5, Ratings: 2

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