After single-handedly leading his party to the biggest electoral prize in the world’s largest democracy, Uttar Pradesh, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi emerges as the strongest leader of India’s current political landscape.
VARANASI, UTTAR PRADESH, INDIA (RECENT-MARCH 08, 2017) (ANI) – After single-handedly leading his party to the biggest electoral prize in the world’s largest democracy, Uttar Pradesh, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has emerged as the strongest leader of India’s current political landscape.
Modi thrusted himself into the heart of the battle in Uttar Pradesh, addressing over 20 rallies and holding two massive road shows, and pitched himself as the man of the poor.
The scale of the victory showed Modi’s ability to decipher Indian electoral arithmetic by appealing across castes and communities in a state where most people traditionally vote along religious and social lines. It also strengthens his claim to a second term as national leader.
The gigantic win of his Bharatiya Janata Party almost matched its showing in Uttar Pradesh in the 2014 general election, when it claimed the biggest parliamentary majority in three decades.
Modi has been able to set himself apart from the current Indian political leaders largely due to his unflagging energy, charisma and brilliant oratory skills.
He has also made concerted efforts to project himself as a moderate, who is trying to promote religious harmony and has toned down his speeches, shifting their focus from Hindu revivalist rhetoric to trumpeting investment.
In 2014, Modi’s BJP and its allies swept India’s elections, ousting the ruling Nehru-Gandhi dynasty in a seismic political shift.
Since coming to power, Modi has launched a host of schemes aimed at eradicating poverty, empowering women and boost growth in Asia’s third-largest economy.
The boldest decision of his two-and-a-half year tenure was the shock abolishment of higher denomination notes-a move he framed as a fight for the poor against the corrupt rich. However, the result in Uttar Pradesh and a strong performance in other recently concluded states showed that the decision was backed by a majority of the Indian population.
Modi has also worked tirelessly to give a lift to India’s image in the global arena. He has nurtured and sculpted strategic partnership with almost every country in the world.
From hosting a musical lunch for Britain’s Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to handing over a tea cuppa to former U.S. President Barack Obama, Modi has forged friendship with western world leaders and reenergised the India’s foreign policy.
Modi’s has also maintained good bonhomie within his South Asian neighbours and signed deals worth billions of dollars to boost ties.
Narendra Damodardas Modi, now 66, was born and brought up in Vadnagar, a town built on a hill in rural Gujarat.
The third child in a family of eight that struggled to make ends meet, he ended his education after school and abruptly left home, only returning years later for his father’s funeral.
The tea stall his father ran with the help of his sons is just as it was then, a small shed of patched blue-grey tin on the platform of the ramshackle railway station nearby.
His journey into politics started young.
As a teenager he joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a voluntary right-wing group that serves both as the ideological incubator for “Hindutva”, a hardline brand of Hindu nationalism, and as the philosophical parent of the BJP.
Early on Modi was a “pracharak” or propagandist, living a monkish life and evangelising from village to village to win new recruits.
He entered mainstream politics in 1988, when he was elected as the organizing secretary of BJP in western Gujarat province and his steady rise and popularity from there on brought him to the seat of chief minister of the state in October 2001.
One of the defining moments of Modi’s career was in 2002, when more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were slaughtered in mob violence.
He has always vehemently denied that he allowed, or even encouraged, the bloodshed, driven by a Hindu nationalist agenda, and a Supreme Court inquiry found no evidence to prosecute him.
Modi, however, increased the ease of doing business in his native state and turned it into an economic powerhouse during his 12-year tenure.
A stocky, bespectacled man with a trimmed white beard, Modi is known for his ascetic lifestyle and enthusiasm for yoga. Local media says he married at a young age, but he has never publicly acknowledged this. He has no children.