Narendra Modi in full name Narendra Damodardas Modi, born September 17, 1950, Vadnagar, India, Indian politician and government official who rose to become a senior leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In 2014 he led his party to victory in elections to the Lok Sabha (lower chamber of the Indian parliament), after which he was sworn in as prime minister of India. Prior to that he had served (2001–14) as chief minister head of government of Gujarat state in western India.
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Narendra Modi was sworn in as the Prime Minister of India on 26 May 2014 at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. He became the first Prime Minister born after India’s independence from the British Empire. His first cabinet consisted of 45 ministers, 25 fewer than the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. 21 new ministers were added to the council of ministers in November 2014.
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Narendra Modi 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 categorised as an Other Backward Classby the Indian government.
As a child, Narendra 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 interest in theatre. Modi had an early gift for rhetoric in debates, and his teachers and students noted this. Modi preferred playing larger-than-life characters in theatrical productions, which has influenced his political image.
When eight years old, Narendra 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, Narendra 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.
Narendra Modi spent the ensuing two years travelling 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.
Narendra 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 life.
In the early summer of 1968, Narendra 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 travelling back to Gujarat via Delhi and Rajasthan in 1968–69.
Sometime in late 1969 or early 1970, Narendra 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, Narendra 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 Narendra 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 1983, he received a Master of Arts degree in political science from Gujarat University, as an external distance learning student.
Narendra Modi as 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 Narendra 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 Vajpayeethat 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, Narendra Modi was administered the oath of office. On 24 February 2002 he entered the Gujarat state legislature by winning a by-election to the Rajkot – II constituency, defeating Ashwin Mehta of the INC by 14,728 votes, which enabled him to take office.
Narendra Modi’s political career thereafter remained a mixture of deep controversy and self-promoted achievements. His role as chief minister during communal riots that engulfed Gujarat in 2002 was particularly questioned. He was accused of condoning the violence or, at least, of doing little to stop the killing of more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, that ensued after dozens of Hindu passengers died when their train was set on fire in the city of Godhra.
In 2005 the United States declined to issue him a diplomatic visa on the grounds that he was responsible for the 2002 riots, and the United Kingdom also criticized his role in 2002. Although in the succeeding years Narendra Modi himself escaped any indictment or censure—either by the judiciary or by investigative agencies—some of his close associates were found guilty of complicity in the 2002 events and received lengthy jail sentences.
Modi’s administration was also accused of involvement in extrajudicial killings (variously termed “encounters” or “fake encounters”) by police or other authorities. One such case, in 2004, involved the deaths of a woman and three men whom officials said were members of Lashkar-e-Taiba (a Pakistan-based terrorist organization that was involved in the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks) and were alleged to have been plotting to assassinate Narendra Modi.
Narendra Modi’s repeated political success in Gujarat, however, made him an indispensable leader within the BJP hierarchy and led to his reintegration into the political mainstream. Under his leadership, the BJP secured a significant victory in the December 2002 legislative assembly elections, winning 127 of the 182 seats in the chamber (including a seat for Modi). Projecting a manifesto for growth and development in Gujarat, the BJP was again victorious in the 2007 state assembly elections, with a seat total of 117, and the party prevailed again in the 2012 polls, garnering 115 seats. Both times Modi won his contests and returned as chief minister.
Narendra Modi Personal life
In accordance with Ghanchi tradition, Narendra Modi’s marriage was arranged by his parents when he was a child. He was engaged at age 13 to Jashodaben, marrying her when he was 18. They spent little time together and grew apart when Modi began two years of travel, including visits to Hindu ashrams.
Reportedly, their marriage was never consummated, and he kept it a secret because otherwise he could not have become a ‘pracharak’ in the puritan Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. Although Modi kept his marriage secret for most of his career, he acknowledged his wife when he filed his nomination for a parliamentary seat in the 2014 general elections. Modi maintains a close relationship with his mother, Hiraben and often visits her on his birthday to seek her blessings.
A vegetarian and teetotaler, Narendra Modi has a frugal lifestyle and is a workaholic and introvert. Adept at using social media, he has been since September 2014 the third-most-followed leader in the world (with over 34.6 million followers on Twitter as of September 2017), behind Barack Obama (95.6 million followers) and Donald Trump (38.8 million followers). Modi’s 31 August 2012 post on Google Hangouts made him the first Indian politician to interact with netizens on live chat.
Narendra Modi has also been called a fashion-icon for his signature crisply ironed, half-sleeved kurta, as well as for a suit with his name embroidered repeatedly in the pinstripes that he wore during a state visit by US President Barack Obama, which drew public and media attention and criticism. Modi’s personality has been variously described by scholars and biographers as energetic, arrogant, and charismatic.
The nomination of Narendra Modi for the prime ministership drew attention to his reputation as “one of contemporary India’s most controversial and divisive politicians.” During the 2014 election campaign the BJP projected an image of Modi as a strong, masculine leader, who would be able to take difficult decisions.
Campaigns in which he has participated have focused on Narendra Modi as an individual, in a manner unusual for the BJP and RSS. Modi has relied upon his reputation as a politician able to bring about economic growth and “development”. Nonetheless, his role in the 2002 Gujarat riots continues to attract criticism and controversy.
Narendra Modi’s hardline Hindutva philosophy and the policies adopted by his government continue to draw criticism, and have been seen as evidence of a majoritarian and exclusionary social agenda.