The rise of Moditva
If the lad joins politics, he will reign supreme as an emperor and if he becomes a sanyasi, he will attain fame like Shankaracharya,' said a seer, who...
If the lad joins politics, he will reign supreme as an emperor and if he becomes a sanyasi, he will attain fame like Shankaracharya," said a seer, who saw Modi's horoscope when he was 12-years-old. His mother was convinced that he will become a sanyasi, as he was more inclined towards spiritualism, than having a materialistic disposition. Contrary to her belief, Modi turned to politics and, as predicted, he has emerged as the undisputed leader in his home state of Gujarat. Amidst controversies, he is now set to become BJP's prime ministerial face Anita Saluja "People can like me, or hate me, but they cannot ignore me," is the oft-repeated claim of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, who lately has achieved the impossible, of winning over his enemies on to his side. Modi can be termed as an exception in Indian politics, whom the leaders, political parties and the media all love to hate and in fact, they, in the recent past, flaunted their dislike for him in the name of secularism. Things have changed recently, with Modi becoming the darling of a section of the media and leaders of his party, who swear to return victorious in the elections purely on his charisma. Modi's rivals in the party have read the writing on the wall themselves and switched-over to his side. As for others, he has won them over through his political acumen and managerial skills. In his career spanning over three decades, he has now attained a position where his supporters outnumber his detractors, ever since he performed a hat-trick in Gujarat Assembly elections in 2012. Interestingly, Modi's rivals within his party and outside are convinced that he can be a game-changer for the party in the crucial Lok Sabha elections in 2014, the reason why they are all the more uneasy with his meteoric rise in the party, now that he has emerged as the Numero Uno of the party and is coronated as BJP Campaign Committee Chairman. While those, who are opposing him in the party, the likes of L K Advani and Sushma Swaraj, know he will overtake them and it will be difficult to stop him at a later stage, those outside, including the Congress, are scared that he may walk away with all the Hindus rallying on his side. The Congress is convinced that it cannot project Rahul Gandhi as their Prime Ministerial face, if Modi is pitted against him. He surpasses the Congress Vice-President in oratory and witticism and he will be in no position to counter Modi in the public campaign. Modi's rise from working in a tea-stall owned by his father, to the BJP General-Secretary and then Chief Minister of a State where he wiped out the Congress not just in one election, but thrice in a row, speaks volumes of his organisational and political skills. Narendra Damodar Das, "ND" as he was addressed by his friends, studied in Bhagwatcharya-Narayancharya Government School in Vadagnagar village of Mehsana district in Gujarat. He was one of the six children of the family and happened to be a brilliant child, who loved writing poetry, taking part in drama and writing plays. During his childhood days, he wrote a play called Yellow Flower that depicted the ordeal of a Dalit woman, who was prevented from entering a temple. During his school days, Modi also indulged in writing poetry. In the poem "Tasveer ke paar," (Beyond the Image), Modi writes, "Aap mujhe mere kaamon se pehchano, kaam hi hai, mera jeevan aur kavya ��.aap mujhe chhavi mein nahi, lekin paseene ki sugandh mein dhoondoh" (Seek me in my work, work is my life and poetry �..seek me not in my image but in the smell of my sweat). After his schooling, Modi took a break and went off to the Himalayas in search of spiritual solace. Interestingly, a seer, who was shown Modi's horoscope by his mother when he was 12-years-old, said, "If the lad joins politics, he will reign supreme as an emperor and if he becomes a sanyasi, he will attain fame like Shankaracharya." His mother was convinced that he will become a sanyasi, as he was more inclined towards spiritualism, than having a materialistic disposition. Contrary to her belief, Modi turned to politics and, as predicted, he has emerged as the undisputed leader in his home State of Gujarat. Modi, who joined as pracharak in the RSS in 1972, rose to become Gujarat BJP General-Secretary in 1988. Modi drew closer to Advani during the Ram Rath Yatra from Somnath to Ayodhya in 1990. Later, he also joined Murli Manohar Joshi in the Ekta Yatra in 1991 from Kanyakumari to Srinagar. In 1995, Modi was appointed BJP National Secretary and was promoted as BJP General-Secretary (Organisation) later in 1998, a key post given only to RSS pracharaks in the BJP. The post is presently held by Ram Lal. He was elevated as Gujarat Chief Minister in 2001, replacing his archrival Keshubhai Patel and was given the challenging task of having to bring back the party to power, the very next year. Thanks to his detractors in Gujarat, particularly the then State Chief Minister Keshubhai Patel, he was transferred out of the State and sent to Delhi and made the BJP General Secretary (Organisation) in 1998. Modi had once told this correspondent that had he not been sent to the Capital, all his life he would have been confined to State politics. He initially stayed at 7-B, Harish Chandra Mathur Lane in the Capital, in an MP quarter, and later on, shifted to one of the backrooms in the BJP headquarters. Leading a humble life, he never set up a kitchen for himself and preferred to eat from the common kitchen, where food is cooked for all the staff. An attendant working at the BJP Headquarters recalls how Modi has photographic memory and knows everyone not just by their face, but by their name, as well. Even now, when Modi happens to visit the party headquarters, he addresses them by their names, much to the surprise of the old staff. "I have never asked for any post. Whatever position has been assigned to me, I have accepted with humility," Modi stated to this correspondent, after he performed the hat-trick in Gujarat. However, for the top-most post of becoming the BJP Campaign Committee head, Modi had to confront his mentor L K Advani, the person, who saved his job, when Atal Behari Vajpayee insisted that he should no longer continue as Gujarat Chief Minister after the 2002 communal riots. Modi, for an ordinary worker, is a gentleman, who is polite and helpful, but the same Modi turns out to be authoritarian, when faced by his detractors. He became autocratic with his colleagues, when he realised that they want him to be confined to Gujarat. It was during the General Election in 2009, when Advani was projected as the Prime Ministerial face of the party that Modi started distancing himself from him. Modi was popular at that time, but at the behest of senior leaders in the party, he paved the way for Advani, just as the latter did for Vajpayee on the eve of 1996 elections. This correspondent travelled with Advani to Ahmedabad, where he addressed a public rally along with the Chief Minister. Advani was neither received nor seen-off by Modi in the city. In fact, cold-vibes between the two were visible even then, as Advani had a quiet dinner all alone, before departing for the Capital after a successful rally. The rift between Advani and Modi has widened ever since, with Advani starting his Jan Chetna Yatra from Sitabdiara, the birth place of Jai Prakash Narain in Bihar, instead of the birth place of Sardar Patel in Gujarat and on the issues of black money and corruption of the UPA government. The rally was flagged-off by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, an archrival of Narendra Modi. The talk of the town is that Advani is looking for a new constituency for the Lok Sabha polls in 2014, instead of contesting from Gandhinagar in Gujarat. Lately, Advani has not hidden his ire against Modi by downplaying his record in Gujarat and comparing it with the turn-around achieved by Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh. In his letter to BJP President Rajnath Singh, Advani, while resigning from all the posts in the BJP, wrote that it was not the same idealistic party created by Dr Mookerji, Deen Dayalji, Nanaji and Vajpayeeji, whose sole concern was the country and its people. "Most leaders are now concerned just with their personal agendas." The rise of Modi has gradually distanced him from his colleagues, including Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj, though the two are compelled to support him, given the upsurge of his popularity in the party. Interestingly, Modi has changed the very dynamics of the party, bidding adieu to the Vajpayee-Advani era and ushering in Moditva, which goes beyond Hindutva, challenging the secular-minded parties with his reformist and youthful agenda. Accepting the change, Rajnath Singh, along with the younger generation that includes new blood in the party, like BJP Vice-President Smriti Irani, BJP Spokesman Sudhansu Trivedi and BJP Yuva Morcha President Anurag Thakur, besides the Sangh, are all with Modi, confident of confronting the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party at the hustings.