After single-handedly leading his party to the biggest electoral prize in the world’s largest democracy, Uttar Pradesh, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi emerges as the strongest leader of India’s current political landscape.
VARANASI, UTTAR PRADESH, INDIA (RECENT-MARCH 08, 2017) (ANI) – After single-handedly leading his party to the biggest electoral prize in the world’s largest democracy, Uttar Pradesh, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has emerged as the strongest leader of India’s current political landscape.
The scale of the victory showed Modi’s ability to decipher Indian electoral arithmetic by appealing across castes and communities in a state where most people traditionally vote along religious and social lines. It also strengthens his claim to a second term as national leader.
He has also made concerted efforts to project himself as a moderate, who is trying to promote religious harmony and has toned down his speeches, shifting their focus from Hindu revivalist rhetoric to trumpeting investment.
The boldest decision of his two-and-a-half year tenure was the shock abolishment of higher denomination notes-a move he framed as a fight for the poor against the corrupt rich. However, the result in Uttar Pradesh and a strong performance in other recently concluded states showed that the decision was backed by a majority of the Indian population.
From hosting a musical lunch for Britain’s Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to handing over a tea cuppa to former U.S. President Barack Obama, Modi has forged friendship with western world leaders and reenergised the India’s foreign policy.
The third child in a family of eight that struggled to make ends meet, he ended his education after school and abruptly left home, only returning years later for his father’s funeral.
The tea stall his father ran with the help of his sons is just as it was then, a small shed of patched blue-grey tin on the platform of the ramshackle railway station nearby.
His journey into politics started young.
As a teenager he joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a voluntary right-wing group that serves both as the ideological incubator for “Hindutva”, a hardline brand of Hindu nationalism, and as the philosophical parent of the BJP.
He entered mainstream politics in 1988, when he was elected as the organizing secretary of BJP in western Gujarat province and his steady rise and popularity from there on brought him to the seat of chief minister of the state in October 2001.
He has always vehemently denied that he allowed, or even encouraged, the bloodshed, driven by a Hindu nationalist agenda, and a Supreme Court inquiry found no evidence to prosecute him.
A stocky, bespectacled man with a trimmed white beard, Modi is known for his ascetic lifestyle and enthusiasm for yoga. Local media says he married at a young age, but he has never publicly acknowledged this. He has no children.