“Narendra Damodardas Modi “
born 17 September 1950,
is an Indian politician who is the 16th and current Prime Minister of India, in office since May 2014. He was the Chief Minister of Gujarat from 2001 to 2014 and is the Member of Parliament for Varanasi. Modi, a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is a Hindu nationalist and member of the right-wing RSS- Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh
Born to a Gujarati family in Vadnagar, Modi helped his father sell tea as a child and later ran his own stall. He was introduced to the RSS at the age of eight, beginning a long association with the organization. He left home after graduating from school, partly because of an arranged marriage which he rejected. Modi traveled around India for two years and visited a number of religious centers.
He returned to Gujarat and moved to Ahmedabad in 1969 or 1970. In 1971 he became a full-time worker for the RSS. During the state of emergency imposed across the country in 1975, Modi was forced to go into hiding. The RSS assigned him to the BJP in 1985, and he held several positions within the party hierarchy until 2001, rising to the rank of general secretary.
Modi was appointed Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2001, due to Keshubhai Patel’s failing health and poor public image following the earthquake in Bhuj. Modi was elected to the legislative assembly soon after. His administration has been considered complicit in the 2002 Gujarat riots, or otherwise criticised for its handling of it, although a court found no evidence to prosecute Modi. His policies as chief minister, credited with encouraging economic growth, have received praise. His administration has been criticised for failing to significantly improve health, poverty, and education indices in the state.
Modi led the BJP in the 2014 general election, which gave the party a majority in the Lok Sabha, the first time a single party had achieved this since 1984. Modi himself was elected to parliament from Varanasi. Since taking office, Modi’s administration has tried to raise foreign direct investment in the Indian economy, increased spending on infrastructure, and reduced spending on healthcare and social welfare programmes.
Modi has attempted to improve efficiency in the bureaucracy, and centralized power through the abolition of the planning commission. He has begun a high-profile sanitation campaign and weakened or abolished environmental and labor laws. Credited with engineering a political realignment towards right-wing politics, Modi remains a figure of controversy domestically and internationally over his Hindu nationalist beliefs and his role during the 2002 Gujarat riots, cited as evidence of an exclusionary social agenda.
Early life and education
Narendra Modi was born on 17 September 1950 to a family of grocers in Vadnagar, Mehsana district, Bombay State (present-day Gujarat). He was the third of six children born to Damodardas Mulchand Modi (c.1915 – 1989) and Hiraben Modi (born c.1920).Modi’s family belonged to the Modh-Ghanchi-Teli (oil-presser) community, which is categorized as an Other Backward Class by the Indian government.
As a child, Modi helped his father sell tea at the Vadnagar railway station and later ran a tea stall with his brother near a bus terminus. Modi completed his higher secondary education in Vadnagar in 1967, where a teacher described him as an average student and a keen debater, with an interest in theatre. Modi had an early gift for rhetoric in debates, and this was noted by his teachers and students.Modi preferred playing larger-than-life characters in theatrical productions, which has influenced his political image.
When eight years old, Modi discovered the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), and began attending its local shakhas (training sessions). There, Modi met Lakshmanrao Inamdar, popularly known as Vakil Saheb, who inducted him as a balswayamsevak (junior cadet) for RSS and became his political mentor.
While Modi was training with the RSS, he also met Vasant Gajendragadkar and Nathalal Jaghda, Bharatiya Jana Sangh leaders who were founding members of the BJP’s Gujarat unit in 1980. Engaged while still a child to Jashodaben, a girl from a family who lived close by, Modi rejected the arranged marriage at the same time he graduated from high school.The resulting familial tensions contributed to his decision to leave home in 1967.
Modi spent the ensuing two years traveling across Northern and North-eastern India, though few details of where he went have emerged. In interviews, Modi has described visiting Hindu ashrams founded by Swami Vivekananda: the Belur Math near Kolkata, followed by the Advaita Ashrama in Almora and the Ramakrishna Mission in Rajkot. Modi remained only a short time at each since he lacked the required college education. Vivekananda has been described as a large influence in Modi’s life.
In the early summer of 1968, Modi reached the Belur Math but was turned away, after which Modi wandered through Calcutta, West Bengal, and Assam, stopping in Siliguri and Guwahati.
Modi then went to the Ramakrishna Ashram in Almora, where he was again rejected, before traveling back to Gujarat via Delhi and Rajasthan in 1968–69.
Sometime in late 1969 or early 1970, Modi returned to Vadnagar for a brief visit before leaving again for Ahmedabad. There, Modi lived with his uncle, working in the latter’s canteen at the Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation.
In Ahmedabad, Modi renewed his acquaintance with Inamdar, who was based at the Hedgewar Bhavan (RSS headquarters) in the city. After the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, he stopped working for his uncle and became a full-time pracharak (campaigner) for the RSS, working under Inamdar.
Shortly before the war, Modi took part in a non-violent protest against the Indian government in New Delhi, for which he was arrested; this has been cited as a reason for Inamdar electing to mentor him. Many years later Modi would co-author a biography of Inamdar, published in 2001.
In 1978 Modi received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from School of Open Learning at University of Delhi, graduating with a third class. Five years later, in 1982, he received a Master of Arts degree in political science from Gujarat University, as an external distance learning student.
Early political career
In June 1975, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared a state of emergency in India which lasted until 1977. During this period, known as “The Emergency”, many of her political opponents were jailed and opposition groups were banned.
Modi was appointed as the general secretary of the “Gujarat Lok Sangharsh Samiti”, an RSS committee coordinating opposition to the Emergency in Gujarat. Shortly afterward, the RSS was banned.
Modi was forced to go underground in Gujarat and frequently traveled in disguise to avoid arrest. He became involved in printing pamphlets opposing the government, sending them to Delhi and organizing demonstrations.
Modi was also involved with creating a network of safe houses for individuals wanted by the government, and in raising funds for political refugees and activists.
During this period, Modi wrote a book in Gujarati, Sangharsh Ma Gujarat (In The Struggles of Gujarat), describing events during the Emergency.
Among the people, he met in this role was the trade unionist and socialist activist George Fernandes, as well as several other national political figures.In his travels during the Emergency, Modi was often forced to move in disguise, once dressing as a monk, and once as a Sikh.
Modi became an RSS sambhag pracharak (regional organizer) in 1978, overseeing RSS activities in the areas of Surat and Vadodara, and in 1979 he went to work for the RSS in Delhi, where he was put to work researching and writing the RSS’s version of the history of the Emergency.He returned to Gujarat a short while later and was assigned by the RSS to the BJP in 1985.
In 1987 Modi helped organize the BJP’s campaign in the Ahmedabad municipal election, which the BJP won comfortably; Modi’s planning has been described as the reason for that result by biographers.After L. K. Advani became president of the BJP in 1986, the RSS decided to place its members in important positions within the BJP; Modi’s work during the Ahmedabad election led to his selection for this role, and Modi was elected organizing secretary of the BJP’s Gujarat unit later in 1987.
Modi rose within the party and was named a member of the BJP’s National Election Committee in 1990, helping organize L. K. Advani’s 1990 Ram Rath Yatra in 1990 and Murli Manohar Joshi’s 1991–92 Ekta Yatra (Journey for Unity).However, he took a brief break from politics in 1992, instead of establishing a school in Ahmedabad; friction with Shankersingh Vaghela, a BJP MP from Gujarat at the time, also played a part in this decision. Modi returned to electoral politics in 1994, partly at the insistence of Advani, and as party secretary, Modi’s electoral strategy was considered central to the BJP victory in the 1995 state assembly elections.
In November of that year, Modi was elected BJP national secretary and transferred to New Delhi, where he assumed responsibility for party activities in Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.
The following year, Shankersinh Vaghela, a prominent BJP leader from Gujarat, defected to the Indian National Congress (Congress, INC) after losing his parliamentary seat in the Lok Sabha elections.
Modi, on the selection committee for the 1998 Assembly elections in Gujarat, favored supporters of BJP leader Keshubhai Patel over those supporting Vaghela to end factional division in the party. His strategy was credited as key to the BJP winning an overall majority in the 1998 elections, and Modi was promoted to BJP general secretary (organization) in May of that year.
Chief Minister of Gujarat
In 2001, Keshubhai Patel’s health was failing and the BJP lost a few state assembly seats in by-elections. Allegations of abuse of power, corruption and poor administration were made, and Patel’s standing had been damaged by his administration’s handling of the earthquake in Bhuj in 2001.
The BJP national leadership sought a new candidate for the chief ministership, and Modi, who had expressed misgivings about Patel’s administration, was chosen as a replacement.Although BJP leader L. K. Advani did not want to ostracise Patel and was concerned about Modi’s lack of experience in government, Modi declined an offer to be Patel’s deputy chief minister, telling Advani and Atal Bihari Vajpayee that he was “going to be fully responsible for Gujarat or not at all”.
On 3 October 2001, he replaced Patel as Chief Minister of Gujarat, with the responsibility of preparing the BJP for the December 2002 elections.
On 7 October 2001, Modi was administered the oath of office. On 24 February 2002, he entered the Gujarat state legislature by winning a by-election for the Rajkot – II constituency, defeating Ashwin Mehta of the INC by 14,728 votes, which enabled him to take office.
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