Narendra Damodardas Modiborn 17 September 1950) is the current chief minister ofthe Indian state of Gujarat. he was the third of six children born to DamodardasMulchand Modi and his wife Heeraben. He has been amember of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS)since childhood, having an interest in politics sinceadolescence. He holds a masters degree in politicalscience. In 1998, he was chosen by L. K. Advani, theleader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), to direct theelection campaign in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.He became the chief minister of Gujarat in October 2001,promoted to the office at a time when his predecessorKeshubhai Patel had resigned, following the defeat of BJPin the by-elections. His tenure as chief minister began on7 October 2001. In July 2007, he became the longestserving Chief Minister in Gujarats history when he hadbeen in power for 2063 days continuously. He waselected again for a third term on 23 December 2007 inthe state elections, which he had cast as a "referendum onhis rule". Under his leadership Bhartiya Janata Partywon 2012 State Assembly Elections and he was chosen toserve for this full term as Chief Minister of Gujarat.Modi is a controversial figure both within India andinternationally.His administration received heated
criticism surrounding the 2002 Gujarat violence.However, he enjoys considerable support in his homestate and is credited with the high economic growth inGujarat under his government.Modi was born on 17 September 1950 to a middle-class family in Vadnagar in Mehsana district of whatwas then Bombay State, IndiaDuring the Indo-Pakwar in the mid sixties, even as a young boy, hevolunteered to serve the soldiers in transit at railwaystations. As a young man, he joined the AkhilBharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, a student organisationand was involved in the anti-corruption Nav NirmanMovement. After working as a full-time organiserfor the organisation, he was later nominated as itsrepresentative in the Bharatiya Janata Party. As ateenager Modi used to run a tea stall with hisbrother. Modi completed his schooling inVadnagar. He earned a masters degree in politicalscience from Gujarat University. Modi is knownfor leading a frugal lifestyle. He has a personal staffof three. He is known to be a workaholic and anintrovert. He ordered the demolition of manyillegal Hindu temples that were built without propergovernment sanction which earned him the ire ofVHP
Early activism and politicsModi was a pracharak (full-timer) in the RSS duringhis university years. He took up thechallenging task of energising the party cadres inright earnest. In partnership with ShankersinhVaghela, Modi set about creating a strong cadre basein Gujarat. In the initial period, Vaghela was seen asa mass leader, while Modi was recognised as amaster strategist.The party started gaining political mileage andformed a coalition government at the centre in April1990. This partnership fell apart within a fewmonths, but the BJP came to power with a two-thirds majority on its own in Gujarat in 1995. Duringthis period, Modi was entrusted with theresponsibility of organising two crucial nationalevents, the Somnath to Ayodhya Rath Yatra (apolitical rally through India on a converted Toyotavan) of L.K. Advani and a similar march fromKanyakumari (the southernmost part of mainlandIndia, southernmost point of India being Indira pointof Andaman and Nicobar islands) to Kashmir in theNorth. After the exit of Shankarsingh Vaghela fromthe BJP, Keshubhai Patel was made Chief Minister
while Narendra Modi was sent to New Delhi as aGeneral Secretary of the Party.In 1995, Modi was appointed the National Secretaryof the party and given the charge of five major statesin India. In 1998, he was promoted as the GeneralSecretary (Organization), a post he held untilOctober 2001.Tenure as Chief Minister of GujaratNarendra Modi in an election campaign in Jamnagarin 2012In 2001, Narendra Modi was chosen by the party tobe the Chief Minister of Gujarat to succeedKeshubhai Patel.2002 Election
Main article: Gujarat legislative assembly election,2002As an aftermath of the riots, there were calls forModi to resign from his position as chief minister ofGujarat. The opposition parties stalled the nationalparliament over the issue and the Dravida MunnetraKazhagam (DMK) and Telugu Desam Party (TDP),allies of the BJP, also asked for Modisresignation. Modi submitted his resignationand the state Assembly was dissolved. In theresultant elections the BJP, led by Modi, won 127seats in the 182-member assembly.2007 ElectionsMain article: Gujarat legislative assembly election,2007Modi made a speech at Mangrol in which hejustified the encounter of Sohrabuddin Sheikh,during the election campaign in response to SoniaGandhis speech calling him a "merchant ofdeath", and referred to Sohrabuddins killing. Forthis speech the Election Commission of India, aconstitutional body governing election proceedingsin India, cautioned Modi as it considered it as
indulging in an activity which may aggravateexisting differences between differentcommunities. Modi won the election andcontinued his post as the Chief Minister of Gujarat,he won with majority of votes of 122 seats out of182 total assembly seats.Sadbhavna MissionIn the late 2011-early 2012 Narandra Modiunderwent a series of fasts as part of the SadbhavnaMission. The mission started on 17 September 2011in Ahmedabad with 3-day fast with a view tostrengthen the atmosphere of peace, unity andharmony in the state. He observed total 36 fasts in26 districts, 8 cities including Ahmedabad.2012 ElectionsMain article: Gujarat legislative assembly election,2012The BJP secured a majority in these elections.Narendra Modi won in his constituency Maninagarby a margin of 86,373 votes against Shweta Bhatt(wife of Sanjiv Bhatt) of the Indian National
Congress. The BJP has been the ruling party inGujarat since 1995.Use of social networking technologiesModi interacted with netizens on Google+ on 31August 2012. The chat session was also livebroadcast on YouTube, and Modi took part in itthrough Ahmedabad. The chat was schedule tostart at 20:00 IST, but began 45 minutes late becauseof the reported crash of Google+ due to theresponse. The questions were to be submittedbefore the chat, and were mostly based on issuesabout education, youth empowerment, ruraldevelopment and causes of urbanisation.Modi became the first Indian politician to interactwith netizens through live chat on Internet after thehangout. Google+s Hangout feature allows tenpeople to group chat at a single time. The sameday the hangout was organized, the Gujarat HighCourt gave its statement on the Naroda Patiyamassacre. ModiHangout became the mosttrending term in India at Twitter on the day of thesession, whereas .VoteOutModi, used by Modisopponents, became the third most trending term in
the country. A day before the session, Moditweeted, "Friends, I am looking forward toexchanging ideas with you on G+ Hangouttomorrow on Realising Swami Vivekanandas visionof Strong India!" The chat session was also shownon Modis YouTube channel in real time. The chatwas hosted by Bollywood actor Ajay Devgn, whowas shooting for his upcoming film Himmatwala inHyderabad.Modi answered 18 questions in two sessions. Thesession didnt include many Gujarati people, withmore people from other states and NRIs. Modireceived one lakh questions. When asked abouthis definition of the word secular, he said, "Thinkthat our nation must be on top in all respects. That issecularism, according to me," adding,"The wordsecular has been used and abused for votebankpolitics. Take the example of the microminority ofParsis who are a happy community living in Gujarattoday."Views and opinionsModis position on terrorism
On 18 July 2006 Modi delivered a speech criticisingIndian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh "for hisreluctance to revive anti-terror legislations" like thePrevention of Terrorism Act. He asked the Centre toempower states to invoke tougher laws in the wakeof the blasts in Mumbai. Quoting Modi:Terrorism is worse than a war. A terrorist has norules. A terrorist decides when, how, where andwhom to kill. India has lost more people in terrorattacks than in its wars.Narendra Modi has frequently commented that if theBJP came to power at the Centre, they will honourthe 2004 Supreme Court judgement to hang AfzalGuru. Afzal was convicted of terrorism in the2001 Indian Parliament attack in 2004 by theSupreme Court of India and is in Tihar Jail.On account of the November 2008 Mumbai attacks,on Thursday 27 November, Narendra Modi held ameeting to discuss waterfront security along thecoastline. The meeting decided to ask the Centralgovernment to urgently sanction the following: 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.The 30 coastal boats, under construction at Goasshipbuilding yard, will have the capacity to run atthe speed of 25 nautical miles per hour. These arebeing manufactured under the Centres Rs 58-croregrant for coastal security.Views on criticism of Modis governanceIn 2003, when Narendra Modi was asked about theconflict of his dreams for Gujarats future withinternational criticism of his past activities, Modisaid,Yet, no one has asked this question to the USA after9/11. Delhi is developing fast – no one has askedthis question to Delhi after 1984. If it does notmatter to Delhi and USA, why should it matter toGujarat?Modis decision to link Gujarats violence with the9/11 terrorist attacks on the US drew criticism fromsome[who?] observers, who contrasted it with the thenDeputy Prime Minister L K Advanis unpleasantapology for Gujarat in London a year ago. Modi
responded to this criticism by The Guardian, saying"I have not read and I would not like to read. Butthank you people for spending time on me."Gutka ban in GujaratNarendra Modi announced a comprehensive ban ongutka, which causes cancer, from 11 September2012. He said in his Independence Day speech that"I have to save the youths of Gujarat from thedreaded evil of cancer and thats why a decision toimpose a complete ban on gutka has been taken."Congress ban of TV channelGujarat state Congress banned a television channelTV 9 from covering its events, and prohibited accessto its press conferences and other events. Acommunication in this regard was sent to all districtunits of the party. Narendra Modi criticised thismuzzling of the freedom of press by saying,Journalists on Twitter who spoke against Congress,were blocked. Here they banned a TV channel. Theircrime is that they exposed cracks in the ghar nughar (own your home) scheme of the Congress. Yetthis party talks about democracy.
Criticisms and controversiesGujarat violenceMain article: 2002 Gujarat violenceOn 27 February 2002, a train burning in the town ofGodhra lead to 59 deaths, most of them Hindupilgrims and religious workers returning from theholy city of Ayodhya. Local Muslim leaders havebeen found guilty of burning the train Riots brokeout in the state as the act was caused by Muslimsin which 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus wereultimately killed. The Modi administration wasaccused of insufficient action over the riots andsuspected of encouraging them. However,Narendra Modi had promptly issued shoot at sightorders and called for Army to prevent the riots fromworsening, but given the massive reaction to Godhracarnage, the combined strength of Indian army andState Police too proved insufficient, as confirmed bythe media reports on 1 March. Modiadministration promptly imposed an indefinitecurfew in 26 sensitive cities to ensure that riots donot spread, as reported by The Hindu on 1 March.Years later, a sting operation by an investigative
journalist showed videos of many prominent Hinduleaders and politicians boasting of their involvementin the killings and the complicity of Narenda Modiin the riots. However there were severalinaccuracies in the statements that questioned thesting operation. Babu Bajrani and Suresh Richard inthe statements said that Narendra Modi visitedNaroda Patiya one day after the massacre to thankthem while official record showed that NaredraModi didnt visit Naroda Patiya. VHP activist,Ramesh Dave told Tehelka reporter that S.K.Gadhvi,one of the divisional superintendents of Police killedfive Muslims in Dariapur area as promised to him.But the official records show that Gadhvi was onlyposted in Dariapur one month after the riots. Duringhis tenure no such incident took place inDariapur. On 29 August 2012, an Indian courtfound the legislature guilty of the crime.[dubious –discuss] On the eve of this decision, Modi refused toapologise and rejected renewed calls for hisresignation.In April 2009, the Supreme Court of India appointeda special team of investigators to look into the roleModi had played in the alleged anti-Muslimconspiracy. The team was appointed in response
to the complaint of Zakia Jafri, the widow of ex-Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, who was murdered in theriots. In December 2010, a Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) in itsreport to the Supreme Court seeking answerspertaining to the Ehsan Jafri case, submitted thatthey had found no evidence against NarendraModi.However in February 2011, the Times of Indiareported that a confidential report from the SITindicted Modi on several counts of allegedcomplicity in the Gujarat riots of 2002. Mostother sources have noted that the SIT report does notindict Modi for the riots due to lack ofevidence. The Indian Express too said thereport did not find any Modi involvement in theviolence, though it did accuse him of watering downthe seriousness of the situation. According to TheHindu, the report not only found that Modi tried towater down the seriousness of the situation, butModi also implicitly justified the killings ofMuslims, and failed to condemn the attacks onthem.
The Bharatiya Janata Party demanded aninvestigation into the publication of the report,claiming the leak was politically motivated.The apex court refused to pass any order on the caseand referred it to the Ahmedabad magistrate for adecision. In April 2012, a Special InvestigationTeam absolved Modi of any involvement in theGulberg massacre, arguably the worst episode of theriots. On 7 May 2012, the Supreme Court-appointed amicus curiae, Raju Ramachandranobserved that Modi can be prosecuted under sections153 A (1) (a) & (b), 153 B (1), 166 and 505 (2) ofthe Indian Penal Code for promoting enmity amongdifferent groups during the 2002 Gujarat riots. Hismain contention was that the evidence be judged bya court of law and not the SIT, the SIT was requiredto investigate and not judge However the amicusreport has been criticised by the SpecialInvestigation Team for relying heavily on thetestimony of Sanjiv Bhatt.In an interview on 26 July 2012 to Shahid Siddiqui,editor of an Urdu weekly, Nai Duniya and an MP ofSamajwadi Party told that if he is found guilty of
collusion in the 2002 riots, should be hanged, other-wise insinuations against him should cease.Conflicts with Governor Kamla BeniwalOn 25 August 2011 Gujarat Governor KamlaBeniwal appointed Justice R A Mehta to the post ofLokyukta of Gujarat, a critical anti-corruption postthat had been lying vacant since 2003. Justice R AMehta was recommended for the post by the ChiefJustice of the Gujarat High Court in June. GovernorBeniwal had made this decision without consultingand getting the approval of the chief minister and hiscouncil of ministers.This marked the beginning of a strained relationshipbetween Modi and the Governor. On 25 September2011, Narendra Modi accused the Governor ofrunning a parallel government in the state supportedby the Congress party. He demanded that she berecalled. He also later accused her of delaying theprogress of bills by not passing them.The decision of the governor in the appointment ofR A Mehta was challenged in the high court by theModi government. The two member high courtbench gave a split verdict on 10 October 2011.
Later, a third member upheld the governors decisionin January 2012.Foreign visitsAs the Chief Minister of the Gujarat State, to attractforeign investment in the state, Narendra Modi hasmade visits to foreign countries, including China,Singapore and Japan.Narendra Modi made his first China visit in 2007 toinvite investors Vibrant Gujarat Global InvestorSummit, and second visit in November 2011. Onemonth after the second visit to China, the ChineseGovernment released 13 diamond traders from Indiajailed by the Shenzhen Customs, which the ChiefMinister described as the consequence of hisdiplomatic efforts and statesmanship.In 2005 Narendra Modi was denied diplomatic visato the United States, in addition to this visa denial,his already granted B-1/B-2 visa was also revoked,under a section of the Immigration and NationalityAct which makes any foreign government officialwho was responsible or "directly carried out, at anytime, particularly severe violations of religiousfreedom" ineligible for the visa.
For ten years after the 2002 riots, the UnitedKingdom refused to deal with Narendra Modi, butthe UK changed this policy in October 2012.Awards and recognitions Gujarat Ratna by Shri Poona Gujarati Bandhu Samaj at Ganesh Kala Krida Manch on celebration of centenary year. e-Ratna award by the Computer Society of India Best Chief Minister – In a nationwide survey conducted in 2006 by India Today magazine, Narendra Modi was declared the Best Chief Minister in the country. Asian Winner of the fDi Personality of the Year Award for 2009 by fDi Magazine.The rising of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modiin the BJP and his emergence as a challenger toCongress heir apparent Rahul Gandhi in 2014 hasforced the party to factor NaMo in its politicalstrategy ahead of the next Lok Sabha polls.Till a few months ago, many in the All India
Congress Committee(AICC) had dismissed Modi asa leader of no consequence for UPA. However, therising stature coupled with a strong endorsement ofBrand Modi by India Inc is something that theCongress strategists cannot brush under the carpet.Even as party insiders claimed that Modis rise doesnot worry the Congress, sources said the partyschintan shivir at Jaipur on January 18 and 19 willdiscuss the Modi phenomena.The brainstorming conclave, followed by an AICCsession on January 20, has shortlisted five topics fordiscussion- emerging political challenges, emerging socio-economic challenges, India and the world, organisational strength and empowerment of women. Lurking fear The discussion on political challenges will factor in Modis politics, both negative and positive,
apart from the need to forge new alliances andstrengthen the existing ones.Sources said as of now the overwhelming view inthe party is that the emergence of a "divisive"Gujarat CM on the centre stage may undermineBJPs bid to expand the National DemocraticAlliance beyond the Shiv Sena, Akalis, AIADMKand a few fringe parties.However, a lurking fear in the Congress is that theBJP which hitherto received election funds fromsundry industrialists and small-time traders may beflushed with money to pose a challenge to the GrandOld Party.However, Manish Tewari, senior Congress leaderand Union minister for information andbroadcasting, said the party is not worried about anychallenger."We dont bother who our adversaries are. In 2004,we fought against Atal Bihari Vajpayee(and won). In2009, it was L.K. Advani. Whosoever is BJPsleader, we will take it as it comes. We go to the
people based on our policies and programmes,"Tewari told Mail Today.A day earlier in Mumbai, Tewari tried to draw aparallel between India Incs "liking" for Modi withthe German corporate sectors fascination for AdolphHitler in 1930s."The German corporate sector had a similarfascination with a gentleman. The implications forthe world at large were disastrous," Tewari said.However, his party colleague and AICCspokesperson Sandeep Dikshit downplayed thecorporate push to the Gujarat CM.In response to questions on whether Modisacceptability was increasing in the light of bigindustrialists such as Ambanis and Ratan Tatapraising him, Dikshit said, "Vibrant Gujarat is aninvestment summit where all industrialists areinvited to invest in the state... Almost every CM isglorified when such an event takes place."On the other hand, AICC secretary Praveen Davar,
condemned industrialist Anil Ambani for puttingModi in the league of Mahatma Gandhi and SardarPatel, saying it was an insult to the memory of thetwo nationalists and Gujarat icons."It is highly deplorable that Anil Ambani hascompared Modi with Gandhiji and Sardar Patel,"Davar said.Do you like this story? 127 12Read more at:http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/narendra-modi-a-topic-of-discussion-at-congress-chintan-shivir-2014-general-elections-india-today/1/242127.htmlAnil Ambani puts Narendra Modi on the samepedestal as Mahatma Gandhi and SardarVallabhbhai Patel at the Vibrant GujaratSummitTags: N
Read more at:http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/vibrant-gujarat-summit-india-inc-hails-narendra-modi/1/241878.htmlIndia Incs love for Narendra Modi is no secret andVibrant Gujarat Summit is the platform where it hasalways found expression in the most flattering terms.At the 6th edition of the biennial summit that kickedoff in Gandhinagar on Friday, the glorification ofModi was taken to a new level, with Anil Ambaniputting him on the same pedestal as MahatmaGandhi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.Ambani went on to liken the Gujarat chief ministerto legendary warrior Arjun of the Mahabharat. Otherindustry and business leaders, too, praised in onevoice his "leadership qualities" and "vision". Manyof them pledged massive investments.This resounding endorsement from industry captains
came as another shot in the arm for Modi after histhird consecutive electoral victory even as there hasbeen increasing criticism of Gujarats poorperformance on social and human developmentfronts.Anil Ambani, chairman of ADAG group withGujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi at VibrantGujarat Summit in Gandhinagar.Global praise
The CM, on his part, used the showpiece event toonce again woo investors and to stress how theGujarat model of development had proved to be asuccess while the rest of the world grappled witheconomic slowdown. Another reason for Modi tocelebrate was that even diplomats and businessleaders from across the world sang his paeans,giving a fillip to his national and global ambition.The presence of the heads of the diplomatic missionsof Canada, Japan and Britain on the Vibrant Gujaratstage came as a big boost for Modis image andambition.While Canada and Japan are partners in the summit,Britain is attending the event for the first time afterending Modis decade-long boycott.The UK High Commissioner to India James Bevansaid: "Britain is back. Gujarat is great and so isBritain. Let us work together."However, it was Anil Ambanis lavish praise ofModi that was the highlight of the inaugural day ofthe summit.
"Narendrabhai has the Arjunalike clarity of vision,"he said. Going into the literal meaning of the wordNarendra, Ambani called Modi "a leader amongleaders and a king among kings".Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani andNarendra Modi at Vibrant Gujarat Summit.More support
Going a step further, the Anil Dhirubhai AmbaniGroup chairman placed the CM among the "fourillustrious sons of Gujarat - Mohandas KaramchandGandhi, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and DhirubhaiAmbani."His elder brother and Reliance Industries Ltdchairman Mukesh Ambani too hailed the CM as aleader with "grand vision and determination totranslate that vision into reality". He announced thatthe RIL would invest Rs.1,00,000 crore in Gujaratover the next four years.Speaking on the occasion, Ratan Tata, AnandMahindra, Chanda Kochhar of ICICI Bank, R.C.Bhargava of Maruti and CII chief Adi Godrej, too,lauded Modi for his effective industry friendlygovernance. In his address, Modi said that in just adecade the summit had taken a shape of a globalevent and called it "Indias biggest global tradeshow".Dressed to impressThe encomiums showered on Narendra Modi at the
Vibrant Gujarat summit were hardly surprising as ithas become almost a ritual at the biennialcongregation.Ratan Tata greets Narendra Modi at Vibrant GujaratSummit.What came as a surprise was the Gujarat CMssartorial taste. On Thursday, he chose to dress inwestern attire. But on Friday, the CM was back inhis standard outfit.He wore an off-white long-sleeved kurta with a navy
blue sleeveless Nehru-collar waistcoat in raw silk.He gave the ensemble a finishing touch with a red-print silk pocket square.Do you like this story? 140 5Read more at:http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/vibrant-gujarat-summit-india-inc-hails-narendra-modi/1/241878.htmlModi lays stress on „Made in Gujarat‟ brandHT Correspondent, Hindustan TimesAhmedabad, January 13, 2013 Email to AuthorFirst Published: 00:32 IST(13/1/2013)Last Updated: 00:33 IST(13/1/2013)Share Share on facebookShare on linkedinShare ongoogleShare on emailmore.3 Comments Email printGujarat chief minister Narendra Modi on Saturdayexhorted the people to shed their “anti-industrymindset” which, according to him, was preventingthe country from developing. Industrial
development, he said, could lead to inclusive growthand the “real” development of people. Addressingthe valedictory session of the two-day VibrantGujarat Investors Summit, Modi stressed on creatingthe „Made in Gujarat‟ brand. “Gujarat is emerging asIndia‟s manufacturing hub, with new units being setup in every field of industrial activity. We shouldaim for zero defect manufacturing and the „Made inGujarat‟ tag to gain global acceptance,” he said,adding that small and medium enterprises have apivotal role to play in the state‟s development.Tata Group chairman Cyrus Mistry was present atthe concluding session of the event.The Gujarat government received as many as 17,710intentions of investment (IoIs) in the sixth edition ofthe summit. “We have received largest number ofIoIs from small and medium enterprises, most ofthem in the affordable housing sector,” said Gujaratprincipal secretary (industry) Maheshwar Sahu.He claimed that around 3.75 lakh jobs would becreated in the state through these investmentproposals.
Meanwhile, Thailand‟s ambassador to India PisanManawapat announced at the summit that the ThaiAirways International would launch the first directflight from Ahmedabad to Bangkok on April 1 thisyear.The Canadian government has also invited Modi tothe country. Canada and Japan were the partnercountries at the Vibrant Gujarat summitA supporter wearing a mask of Narendra Modi,Gujarats chief minister, holds a placard during theleaders swearing-in ceremony in Ahmedabad.Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters
Narendra Modi, the recently re-elected chiefminister of Indias western state of Gujarat is ahardline Hindu nationalist. For his legions of fans,including many in big business, the corporate mediaand expat communities, he is a man with a vision –and the best possible future prime minister of thecountry. To his detractors, he is man who presidedover an anti-Muslim pogrom in 2002 (a claim Modidenies) and shows a scant regard for democraticprinciples of inclusivity. His party did not field asingle Muslim candidate this year despite thembeing the largest minority in the state, constitutingone-tenth of its population.A growing section of Indias mainstream media ispresenting the election as a shift away from identitypolitics and towards a politics of development. Theypoint to the fact that unlike 2002, when Gujarat wentto polls after an orgy of anti-Muslim riotscharacterised by Modi as a spontaneous reaction ofan awakened Hindu nation, 2012 saw Modiconcentrate on his record as a pro-growth leader andan efficient administrator. Foreign governments,including the UKs, that had avoided Modi are nowwooing him. As the Congress-led government inDelhi faces one crisis after another, and the
opposition rightwing BJP flexes its muscles, theprospect of Modi as a future prime minister is real.The image makeover from "Butcher of Gujarat" to"Mr Growth" appears complete.What the debate ignores is that development is notan abstract practice immune from identity.Economic reforms are being used in parts of India todepoliticise development and crack down on themarginalised. For instance, tribal peoples and thosefrom lower castes are the biggest victims of forcedeviction by the state for its development projects.Impressive economic figures from Gujarat belie thefact that on the human development index the stateremains far behind. Gujarat, which once had a robusttrade union movement, has witnessed a decline inworking-class organisation, the marginalisation ofMuslim workers and the assimilation of Hinduworkers into Hindu nationalism.Democratic reality requires compromises andnegotiations, including with those one sees as theunderclass However, this makes some of the middleclass uncomfortable and prone to majoritarian andauthoritarian politics. Brand Modi is a manifestationof such a politics. Modi provides an alternative –
where minorities, Dalits and tribals are made to feelthat their safety and survival depends on theirsilence. Instead of protesting as citizens, themarginalised groups have to appeal to Modi and theBJP for favours. Civil society organisations deemedtroublesome face severe restrictions and are labelledpseudo-secularists.Admiration for Modi among many reflects anauthoritarian fantasy nurtured by the beneficiaries ofeconomic growth, but democracy must not be tradedfor development. Security is derived from the virtueof citizenship and cannot be dependent on politicalgratitude and quietude. In Gujarat, the "lesson" ofthe 2002 violence seems to have been thatdemocracy is based on majority rule with no genuinecommitment to minority rights. The lesson was thatmajority Hindus will remain silent or even rewardthose who intimidate and brutalise minorities, andother political parties will pay no more than lipservice to them. That some Muslims vote for Modiis not a sign of his acceptance by minorities. It is afunction of fear politics and the lack of anyprogressive alternative. The Gujarati pride Modiharps on about remains completely Hindu.
Gujarat – where progressive political forcesincluding trade unions have been decimated,minorities crushed, and tribals and Dalits largelyHinduised – is a fantasy land that many upper- andmiddle-caste well-off Hindus in the country looklongingly towards. Will Modi succeed intransplanting the Gujarat model of disenfranchisedminorities, capitalist growth, and a media-obsessedpersonality cult on the rest of India? Or will theimpoverished poor who constitute the majority ofthe electorate see through this propaganda and saveIndian democracy? That will be the most pertinentquestion for India in the coming years.