• Saturday, April 20, 2024

INDIA

India election 2024 profiles: Narendra Modi, who never lost a poll

The Indian PM served as the chief minister of the state of Gujarat for nearly 13 years before taking the top responsibility in 2014.

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi (ANI Photo)

By: Shubham Ghosh

INDIA will head to its general elections in a month or two and all political parties, including the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) led by prime minister Narendra Modi have begun their preparations for the mega battle of the ballots.

India Weekly takes this opportunity to profile some of India’s biggest political leaders who will be part of the upcoming elections and today, we take up prime minister Modi.

Prime minister Narendra Modi

Prime minister Modi is one of the most prominent faces of current-day politics in India. The first leader to be born after independence (1947) to become the top post-holder, Modi has always been a polarising figure but at the same time, he has always maintained his high popularity in popular surveys, even after 10 years in power.

Read: Modi’s BJP unveils first candidate list for 2024 elections; PM eyes Varanasi hat-trick

Modi, who is the second Gujarat-born leader to become the prime minister after Morarji Desai, who was born in Bhadeli in the former Bombay Presidency and present-day Gujarat, is currently the fourth-longest serving PM of India.

Read: India 2024 election profiles: Rahul Gandhi, still looking for a win over Modi

Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India, was in office for nearly 17 years at a stretch, while Indira Gandhi, his daughter, had served for 15 years in two different phases. Modi’s immediate predecessor Manmohan Singh was in office for 10 years. If he wins this year’s election, Modi will be set to go past Singh and equal Indira Gandhi’s record.

Read: How Modi’s BJP runs a corporate-like show in preparing for general elections

Indian PM Narendra Modi with his late mother Hiraben Modi
Narendra Modi, then the Bharatiya Janata Party’s prime ministerial candidate, with his late mother Hiraben, in Gandhinagar in the Gujarat state, after his party swept the 2014 general elections. (Photo credit should read INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP via Getty Images)

Born on September 17, 1950, in Vadnagar in present-day Gujarat in an economically humble family, Modi got introduced to the Hindu right-wing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological mentor of the BJP, at the age of eight. He had studied in Delhi and Gujarat universities for his bacherlor’s and master’s degrees. His hard work on the ground saw Modi fast emerging through the ranks of the BJP after he was assigned to the BJP by the RSS in 1985. He travelled extensively across the country and worked for the party’s organisation and delivered electoral success.

Read: Decoding Modi opposition’s pre-poll deal in UP, India’s key electoral state

In 2001, he was made the chief minister of the state of Gujarat. During his stint as the chief minister of the western Indian state, it witnessed religious pogroms and he was accused of stoking violence but was given a clean chit later. As the chief minister, Modi gained popularity as a leader who focused on development and started Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit in his state in 2003 to attract businesses and his successors in Gujarat government today continue to capitalise on its appeal and popularity. Modi won four successive elections in Gujarat including a bye-election when he became a state lawmaker (twice in 2002, 2007 and 2012) before moving to New Delhi to become the prime minister after the BJP made him the prime ministerial candidate in 2013 for the general elections next year.

Narendra Modi as the chief minister of Gujarat in 2003
Narendra Modi, the then chief minister of the western Indian state of Gujarat, addresses an event in New Delhi in January 2003. (Photo by RAVI RAVEENDRAN/AFP via Getty Images)

As the prime minister, Modi has won two successive elections in 2014 and 2019. He contested the 2014 election from both Vadodara in his home state and Varanasi in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh while in 2019, he contested only from Varanasi. On each occasion, he won by massive margins.

Modi’s electoral record

February 2002: Won in Rajkot II constituency in Gujarat state elections by 14,728 votes

December 2002: Won in Maninagar in Gujarat state elections by 75,333 votes

December 2007: Won in Maninagar in Gujarat state elections by 134,321 votes

December 2012: Won in Maninagar in Gujarat state elections by 86,373 votes

May 2014: Won in Varanasi in general elections by 371,971 votes

May 2014: Won in Vadodara in general elections by 570,128 votes

May 2019: Won in Varanasi in general elections by 479,505 votes

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