Modi and his 45 ministers
PM Narendra Modi And His 45 Ministers. In the 12 years he had been chief minister in Gujarat, Modi consciously crafted an image of a man with an alternative vision of governance for a country caught in a policy paralysis in the last few years.
In the 12 years he had been chief minister in Gujarat, Modi consciously crafted an image of a man with an alternative vision of governance for a country caught in a policy paralysis in the last few years. With his development model as his campaign plank, he made an instant connect with young voters, middle class and those in rural areas yearning for a change. But occasionally there were hints of polarising voters raking up pet issues of the saffron forces.
A master strategist, Modi has come a long way from selling tea at railway station for his father to emerge as a pan India leader. There are many of his critics who contest his claim of having sold tea. In a State the sangh parivar called the "Hindutva laboratory", the chief minister consolidated his image as a hardliner and election after election he delivered results for the party--scoring a hat trick last year in the Assembly polls. In his attempt to reach out to minorities, especially the Muslims, he consciously shed the hardliner approach and focused on development, including those of the poor in the Muslim community.
He battled all odds to emerge as BJP's prime ministerial candidate pipping Advani among others. But since then he had run a very clever, spirited and never-before-seen high-tech campaign addressing more than 450 rallies across the country.
Having been born in a backward 'Modh Ghanchi' (oil crusher) community in historical Vadnagar town of Mehasana district years, the rise of Modi is phenomenal. However, his status as a person belonging to backward community itself has also been contested.
Just five months after he took over as chief minister, Modi controversially came into limelight in the wake of 2002 riots triggered after 59 'Kar Sewaks' were killed in a fire in a compartment in Sabarmati Express train incident on February 27, 2002.
His detractors accused Modi of inaction during riots, but all the subsequent investigations, including one directly under the supervision of Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigations Team (SIT) and subsequent court ruling have given clean chit to Gujarat chief minister.
Modi has also been under repeated attack over alleged fake encounters and his close aide Amit Shah is under a cloud in a few of these. But Modi mastered the art of converting adversities into opportunities. He did some pioneering work in Gujarat to win subsequent elections in 2007 and 2012 on developmental politics decimating Congress. He has been claiming credit for bringing the issue of development to centre stage in his efforts to reinvent himself. Inspired by life and teachings of Gautam Buddha and Swami Vivekananda, Modi had left his Vadnagar home as a youth and joined the RSS as a pracharak. At a tender age he used to sell tea, first at the railway station of his village where his father had a tea stall and later at the canteen of Ahmedabad city bus terminal.