|Chief Minister of Gujarat since October 2001, Mr Narendra Modi was born to a middle class family in the Mehsana district of Gujarat in 1950. He displayed decisive leadership qualities during his student life
itself, when he successfully set up a new chapter of Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad, a powerful national student body. A post-graduate in political science, he entered social life right at the beginning of his career, in the early seventies.
He started with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a socio-cultural organisation that has always been, and continues to be, focussed upon social and cultural development of India and her citizens. RSS imparts the crucial spirits of selflessness, social
responsibility, dedication and nationalism to its cadres and participates in politics only occasionally, most often by deputing its pracharaks (apparatchiks) to BJP and other supplementary organisations. India’s former (1998-2004) Prime Minister Mr Vajpayee
and the former Dy Prime Minister Mr Advani were among those deputed to politics (i.e. the BJP) by the RSS.
During his years with the RSS, Mr Modi played an important role on several occasions, including the 1974 anti-corruption agitation and during the harrowing 19 month (from June 1975 to January 1977) long ‘emergency’ when fundamental rights of Indian citizens
were suspended. Mr Modi kept the spirit of democracy live by staying underground for the entire period and fighting a spirited battle against the fascist ways of the then government.
After serving the RSS for about a decade-and-a-half, in 1988, Mr Modi was made the General Secretary of the BJP’s Gujarat unit. By that time he had already acquired the reputation of being a highly efficient organiser. He took up the challenging
task of energising the party cadres in right earnest. The party started earning political gains and formed a coalition government in April 1990. The partnership fell apart within a few months but the BJP came to power with a two-third majority on it’s own
in 1995. Since then, the BJP has been the ruling party in the state of Gujarat.
Between 1988 and 1995, Mr Modi was recognised as the master strategist who had successfully carried out the necessary ground work for making the Gujarat BJP the ruling party of the state. During this period, Mr Modi was entrusted with the
responsibility of organising two crucial national events also - the Somnath to Ayodhya Rath Yatra (a very long march) of Mr Advani and a similar march from Kanyakumari (the southern most part of India) to the troubled Kashmir in north. Most historians have
attributed the coming of the BJP to power at New Delhi in 1998 to these two highly successful events, the nitty-gritty of which was handled by Mr Narendra Modi.
In 1995 Mr Modi was asked by his party to play a role at the national level – he was appointed as Secretary of the BJP’s national unit at New Delhi. He was promoted as General Secretary (Organisation) in 1998, a post he held until October
2001, when he was chosen to be the chief minister of one of India’s most prosperous states, Gujarat.
During his stint at the national level, Mr Modi was asked to oversee the affairs of several state level units, including the sensitive and crucial states like Jammu & Kashmir and the equally sensitive north-eastern states. He was responsible,
and credited for, having successfully revamped the party organisation in several states. While working at the national level, Mr Modi emerged as an important spokesman for the party and played a key role on several important occasions.
In October 2001, he was asked by the party to head the government in Gujarat. In the first year of the new millennium, though a relatively prosperous state, Gujarat was facing problems because of several natural calamities having struck in
the preceding years, including the massive earthquake in January 2001. Once again Mr Modi took the bull by the horns and decided to convert the adversities into an opportunity. He developed a clear vision of his own for the future of the state, re-organised
the government’s administrative structure, embarked upon a massive cost-cutting exercise and successfully put Gujarat on the road to growth in a short period of three years. Last year, Gujarat registered a GDP growth rate of over 10%, which was the highest
growth rate among all the states in India.
Mr Narendra Modi has, during the first three years of his tenure (October 2001 to December 2004) as the Chief Minister of Gujarat, successfully reduced the fiscal deficit of the state exchequer by fifty per cent and has slashed the losses
of the huge public utility (Gujarat Electricity Board), besides making available electricity for domestic consumption in over 5,000 villages. Perhaps the most important achievement of his government has been successful raising of the height of the crucial
Narmada Dam from 95 to 110.64 metre in two quick bursts of activity, which lasted about two months each. The increased height has resulted in waters finally flowing to practically all parts of the state and commissioning of the hydro-electric power generation
facility at the dam. In addition, several drinking water schemes have been completed and the problem of water scarcity is virtually on it’s way to extinction. Value of the agricultural output of Gujarat has grown by over one hundred per cent during the first
three years of the Narendra Modi government.
When the Narendra Modi government was sworn-in on October 7, 2001, the economy of Gujarat was reeling under the adverse effects of several natural calamities, including a gigantic earthquake in January 2001. Having put the economy back on
an even keel in a short period of three years, the government today has reason to feel sanguine about its performance.
In December 2002, elections were held a few months ahead of schedule and the Narendra Modi government was voted back to power with a massive majority of 128 in a house of 182. This victory was even more impressive than what is suggested by
the figures because of the fact that the opposition Congress party had concentrated it’s nationwide resources on the Gujarat elections. Skilfully wading his way through the onslaught of a massive slander campaign unleashed by the opposition Congress party,
Mr Modi dealt a convincing and crushing defeat to the principal opposition party, the magnitude of which stunned friends and foes alike.
On December 22, 2002, he was sworn-in as the chief minister of Gujarat for the second time. The ceremony had to be held in an open-air stadium because of the sheer number of people who wanted to watch and hear the leader they had so defiantly
chosen to elect.
Popular and progressive, a poet and author of three books, tech-savvy and a true democrat in every sense of the word, Mr Narendra Modi is one of the most easily accessible political leaders in India. A leader who believes in team-work, Mr
Modi has launched an ambitious training programme for the 500,000 government employees in Gujarat which is being watched in awe by every other state and is in for replication through out the nation. A true Karmayogi (doer), Mr Modi refuses to be cowed down
by disasters and disturbances and is successfully leading his state on the path to economic growth. His trail-blazing efforts have yielded rich dividends for the economy of the state and Gujarat’s successful inter-linking of its rivers has finally resulted
in the central government seriously considering replication of the experiment at the national level.
Widely regarded as a youthful and energetic leader with innovative thoughts, Mr Modi has successfully communicated his vision to the people of Gujarat and has been able to impart faith, trust and hope among the 50 million people of Gujarat.
With the successful conclusion of the Vibrant Gujarat Summit in January 2005, image of the state as a preferred investment destination among global investors has taken a quantum leap.
A wide cross section of the people of Gujarat, cutting across religions, income groups and even political affiliations, continue to adore Mr Narendra Modi as an able and visionary leader who is effectively, substantially, significantly, transparently
and convincingly uplifting the quality of their lives. A skilled orator and a deft negotiator, Mr Narendra Modi has earned the love and affection of people from villages and cities alike. His following spans people belonging to every faith and religion and
every economic strata of the society.