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Narendra Modi
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Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi
14th Prime Minister of India
Assumed office
26 May 2014
President Pranab Mukherjee
Preceded by Manmohan Singh
14th Chief Minister of Gujarat
In office
7 October 2001 22 May 2014
Sunder Singh Bhandari
Kailashpati Mishra
Balram Jakhar
Nawal Kishore Sharma
S. C. Jamir
Kamla Beniwal
Preceded by Keshubhai Patel
Succeeded by Anandiben Patel
Member of the Indian Parliament
for Varanasi
Assumed office
16 May 2014
Preceded by Murli Manohar Joshi
Member of the Gujarat Legislative Assembly for Maninagar
In office
1 January 2002 16 May 2014
Preceded by Kamlesh Patel
Succeeded by Suresh Patel
Personal details
Born Narendra Damodardas Modi
17 September 1950 (age 66)
Vadnagar, Bombay State (presently Gujarat), India
Political party Bharatiya Janata Party
Spouse(s) Jashodaben Modi (m. 1968) (estranged)
Residence 7, Lok Kalyan Marg, New Delhi
Alma mater
University of Delhi
Gujarat University
Official website
Government website
PM Modi Portrait(cropped).jpgThis article is part of a series about
Narendra Modi
Early life and education Public image
Early political career
Gujarat Legislative Assembly
2002 2007 2012
Prime Minister of India
Campaign Achhe din aane waale hain Swearing-in Council of Ministers Timeline Man
n Ki Baat International trips Premiership
National policy [show]
Foreign policy [show]
Controversies [show]
Signature of Narendra Modi (Hindi).svg
Prime Minister of India
v t e
Narendra Damodardas Modi (Gujarati: ['n??e?nd?r? d?a?mo?d???'d?a?s 'mo?d?i?] ( l
isten), born 17 September 1950) is an Indian politician who is the 14th and curr
ent Prime Minister of India, in office since May 2014. He was the Chief Minister
of Gujarat from 2001 to 2014, and is the Member of Parliament for Varanasi. Mod
i, a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), is a Hindu nationalist and memb
er of the right-wing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
Born to a Gujarati family in Vadnagar, Modi helped his father sell tea as a chil
d, and later ran his own stall. He was introduced to the RSS at the age of eight
, beginning a long association with the organisation. He left home after graduat
ing from school, partly because of an arranged marriage which he rejected. Modi
traveled around India for two years, and visited a number of religious centres.
He returned to Gujarat and moved to Ahmedabad in 1969 or 1970. In 1971 he became
a full-time worker for the RSS. During the state of emergency imposed across th
e country in 1975, Modi was forced to go into hiding. The RSS assigned him to th
e BJP in 1985, and he held several positions within the party hierarchy until 20
01, rising to the rank of general secretary.
Modi was appointed Chief Minister of Gujarat in 2001, due to Keshubhai Patel's f
ailing health and poor public image following the earthquake in Bhuj. Modi was e
lected to the legislative assembly soon after. His administration has been consi
dered complicit in the 2002 Gujarat riots,[a] or otherwise criticised for its ha
ndling of it, although a court found no evidence to prosecute Modi.[b] His polic
ies as chief minister, credited with encouraging economic growth, have received
praise.[8] His administration has been criticised for failing to significantly i
mprove health, poverty, and education indices in the state.[c]
Modi led the BJP in the 2014 general election, which gave the party a majority i
n the Lok Sabha, the first time a single party had achieved this since 1984. Mod
i himself was elected to parliament from Varanasi. Since taking office, Modi's a
dministration has tried to raise foreign direct investment in the Indian economy
, increased spending on infrastructure, and reduced spending on healthcare and s
ocial welfare programmes. Modi has attempted to improve efficiency in the bureau
cracy, and centralised power through the abolition of the planning commission. H
e has begun a high-profile sanitation campaign, and weakened or abolished enviro
nmental and labour laws. Credited with engineering a political realignment towar
ds right-wing politics, Modi remains a figure of controversy domestically and in
ternationally over his Hindu nationalist beliefs and his role during the 2002 Gu
jarat riots, cited as evidence of an exclusionary social agenda.[d]
Contents [hide]
1 Early life and education
2 Early political career
3 Chief Minister of Gujarat
3.1 Taking office
3.2 2002 Gujarat riots
3.3 2002 election
3.4 Second term
3.5 Development projects
3.6 Development debate
3.7 Final years
4 2014 Indian general election
5 Prime Minister
5.1 Economic policies
5.2 Health and sanitation policies
5.3 Hindutva and education policy
5.4 Foreign policy
5.5 Defence policy
5.6 Environmental policies
5.7 Governance and other initiatives
6 Personal life and image
7 Awards and recognition
7.1 State honours
8 References
8.1 Notes
8.2 Citations
8.3 Sources
9 External links
Early life and education
Modi being fed by his mother
Modi with his mother, Hiraben, on his 63rd birthday on 17 September 2013.
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 ch
ildren born to Damodardas Mulchand Modi (c.1915 - 1989) and Hiraben Modi (born c
.1920).[17] Modi's family belonged to the Modh-Ghanchi-Teli (oil-presser) commun
ity,[18][19][20] which is categorised as an Other Backward Class by the Indian g
As a child, Modi helped his father sell tea at the Vadnagar railway station, and
later ran a tea stall with his brother near a bus terminus.[22][23] Modi comple
ted his higher secondary education in Vadnagar in 1967, where a teacher describe
d him as an average student and a keen debater, with an interest in theatre.[22]
Modi had an early gift for rhetoric in debates, and this was noted by his teach
ers and students.[24] Modi preferred playing larger-than-life characters in thea
trical productions, which has influenced his political image.[25][26]
When eight years old, Modi discovered the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), and
began attending its local shakhas (training sessions). There, Modi met Lakshman
rao Inamdar, popularly known as Vakil Saheb, who inducted him as a balswayamseva
k (junior cadet) for RSS and became his political mentor.[27] While Modi was tra
ining with the RSS, he also met Vasant Gajendragadkar and Nathalal Jaghda, Bhara
tiya Jana Sangh leaders who were founding members of the BJP's Gujarat unit in 1
980.[28] Engaged while still a child to Jashodaben Narendrabhai Modi, a girl fro
m a family who lived close by, Modi rejected the arranged marriage at the same t
ime he graduated from high school.[29] The resulting familial tensions contribut
ed to his decision to leave home in 1967.[30]
Modi spent the ensuing two years travelling across Northern and North-eastern In
dia, though few details of where he went have emerged.[31] In interviews, Modi h
as described visiting Hindu ashrams founded by Swami Vivekananda: the Belur Math
near Kolkata, followed by the Advaita Ashrama in Almora and the Ramakrishna Mis
sion in Rajkot. Modi remained only a short time at each, since he lacked the req
uired college education.[32][33][34] Vivekananda has been described as a large i
nfluence in Modi's life.[35]
In the early summer of 1968, Modi reached the Belur Math but was turned away, af
ter which Modi wandered through Calcutta, West Bengal and Assam, stopping in Sil
iguri and Guwahati.[36] Modi then went to the Ramakrishna Ashram in Almora, wher
e he was again rejected, before travelling back to Gujarat via Delhi and Rajasth
an in 1968 69.[37] Sometime in late 1969 or early 1970, Modi returned to Vadnagar
for a brief visit before leaving again for Ahmedabad.[38] There, Modi lived with
his uncle, working in the latter's canteen at the Gujarat State Road Transport
In Ahmedabad, Modi renewed his acquaintance with Inamdar, who was based at the H
edgewar Bhavan (RSS headquarters) in the city.[41][42][43] After the Indo-Pakist
ani War of 1971, he stopped working for his uncle and became a full-time prachar
ak (campaigner) for the RSS,[40] working under Inamdar.[44] Shortly before the w
ar, 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 e
lecting to mentor him.[44] Many years later Modi would co-author a biography of
Inamdar, published in 2001.[45] In 1978 Modi received a degree in political scie
nce after a distance-education course from Delhi University.[46][47] Five years
later, in 1982, he received a Master of Arts degree in political science from Gu
jarat University.[48][49]
Early political career
In June 1975, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi declared a state of emergency in Indi
a which lasted until 1977. During this period, known as "The Emergency", many of
her political opponents were jailed and opposition groups were banned.[50][51]
Modi was appointed general secretary of the "Gujarat Lok Sangharsh Samiti", an R
SS committee coordinating opposition to the Emergency in Gujarat. Shortly afterw
ards, the RSS was banned.[52] Modi was forced to go underground in Gujarat and f
requently travelled in disguise to avoid arrest. He became involved in printing
pamphlets opposing the government, sending them to Delhi and organising demonstr
ations.[53][54] Modi was also involved with creating a network of safe houses fo
r individuals wanted by the government, and in raising funds for political refug
ees and activists.[55] During this period, Modi wrote a book in Gujarati, Sangha
rsh Ma Gujarat (In The Struggles of Gujarat), describing events during the Emerg
ency.[56][57] Among the people he met in this role was trade unionist and social
ist activist George Fernandes, as well as several other national political figur
es.[58] In his travels during the Emergency, Modi was often forced to move in di
sguise, once dressing as a monk, and once as a Sikh.[55]
Modi became an RSS sambhag pracharak (regional organiser) in 1978, overseeing RS
S activities in the areas of Surat and Vadodara, and in 1979 he went to work for
the RSS in Delhi, where he was put to work researching and writing the RSS's ve
rsion of the history of the Emergency.[59] He returned to Gujarat a short while
later, and was assigned by the RSS to the BJP in 1985.[28] In 1987 Modi helped o
rganise the BJP's campaign in the Ahmedabad municipal election, which the BJP wo
n comfortably; Modi's planning has been described as the reason for that result
by biographers.[60] After L. K. Advani became president of the BJP in 1986, the
RSS decided to place its members in important positions within the BJP; Modi's w
ork during the Ahmedabad election led to his selection for this role, and Modi w
as elected organising secretary of the BJP's Gujarat unit later in 1987.[61]
Modi rose within the party and was named a member of the BJP's National Election
Committee in 1990, helping organise L. K. Advani's 1990 Ram Rath Yatra in 1990
and Murli Manohar Joshi's 1991 92 Ekta Yatra (Journey for Unity).[22][62][63] Howe
ver, he took a brief break from politics in 1992, instead establishing a school
in Ahmedabad; friction with Shankersingh Vaghela, a BJP MP from Gujarat at the t
ime, also played a part in this decision.[63] Modi returned to electoral politic
s in 1994, partly at the insistence of Advani, and as party secretary, Modi's el
ectoral strategy was considered central to the BJP victory in the 1995 state ass
embly elections.[63][28][64][65] In November of that year Modi was elected BJP n
ational secretary and transferred to New Delhi, where he assumed responsibility
for party activities in Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.[64][66] The following year
, Shankersinh Vaghela, a prominent BJP leader from Gujarat, defected to the Indi
an National Congress (Congress, INC) after losing his parliamentary seat in the
Lok Sabha elections.[22] Modi, on the selection committee for the 1998 Assembly
elections in Gujarat, favoured supporters of BJP leader Keshubhai Patel over tho
se supporting Vaghela to end factional division in the party. His strategy was c
redited as key to the BJP winning an overall majority in the 1998 elections,[64]
[67] and Modi was promoted to BJP general secretary (organisation) in May of tha
t year.[68]
Chief Minister of Gujarat
Taking office
Modi flanked by three other men at a table
Modi and his cabinet ministers at a Planning Commission meeting in New Delhi, 20
In 2001, Keshubhai Patel's health was failing and the BJP lost a few state assem
bly seats in by-elections. Allegations of abuse of power, corruption and poor ad
ministration were made, and Patel's standing had been damaged by his administrat
ion's handling of the earthquake in Bhuj in 2001.[64][69][70] The BJP national l
eadership sought a new candidate for the chief ministership, and Modi, who had e
xpressed misgivings about Patel's administration, was chosen as a replacement.[2
2] Although BJP leader L. K. Advani did not want to ostracise Patel and was conc
erned about Modi's lack of experience in government, Modi declined an offer to b
e Patel's deputy chief minister, telling Advani and Atal Bihari Vajpayee that he
was "going to be fully responsible for Gujarat or not at all". On 3 October 200
1 he replaced Patel as Chief Minister of Gujarat, with the responsibility of pre
paring the BJP for the December 2002 elections.[71] On 7 October 2001, Modi was
administered the oath of office.[72] On 24 February 2002 he entered the Gujarat
state legislature by winning a by-election to the Rajkot II constituency, defeat
ing Ashwin Mehta of the INC by 14,728 votes, which enabled him to take office.[7
2002 Gujarat riots
Main article: 2002 Gujarat riots
On 27 February 2002, a train with several hundred passengers burned near Godhra,
killing approximately 60 people.[e] The train carried a large number of Hindu p
ilgrims returning from Ayodhya after a religious ceremony at the site of the dem
olished Babri Masjid.[76][77] In making a public statement after the incident, M
odi said that the attack had been terror attack planned by local Muslims.[3][76]
[78] The next day, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad called for a bandh across the state
.[79][80] Riots began during the bandh, and anti-Muslim violence spread through
Gujarat.[76][79][80] The government's decision to move the bodies of the train v
ictims from Godhra to Ahmedabad further inflamed the violence.[76][81] The state
government stated later that 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus were killed.[82] Indepe
ndent sources put the death toll at over 2000.[76][83] Approximately 150,000 peo
ple were driven to refugee camps.[84] Numerous women and children were among the
victims; the violence included mass rapes and mutilations of women.[2]
The government of Gujarat itself is generally considered by scholars to have bee
n complicit in the riots,[1][2][3] and has otherwise received heavy criticism fo
r its handling of the situation.[85] Several scholars have described the violenc
e as a pogrom, while others have called it an example of state terrorism.[86][87
][88] Summarising academic views on the subject, Martha Nussbaum said: "There is
by now a broad consensus that the Gujarat violence was a form of ethnic cleansi
ng, that in many ways it was premeditated, and that it was carried out with the
complicity of the state government and officers of the law."[2] The Modi governm
ent imposed a curfew in 26 major cities, issued shoot-at-sight orders and called
for the army to patrol the streets, but was unable to prevent the violence from
escalating.[79][80] The president of the state unit of the BJP expressed suppor
t for the bandh, despite such actions being illegal at the time.[3] State offici
als later prevented riot victims from leaving the refugee camps, and the camps w
ere often unable to meet the needs of those living there.[89] Muslim victims of
the riots were subject to further discrimination when the state government annou
nced that compensation for Muslim victims would be half of that offered to Hindu
s, although this decision was later reversed after the issue was taken to court.
[90] During the riots, police officers often did not intervene in situations whe
re they were able.[2][78][91] In 2012 Maya Kodnani, a minister in Modi's governm
ent from 2007 to 2009, was convicted of participation in the Naroda Patiya massa
cre during the 2002 riots.[92][93] Although Modi's government had announced that
it would seek the death penalty for Kodnani on appeal, it reversed its decision
in 2013.[94][95]
Modi's personal involvement in the 2002 events has continued to be debated. Duri
ng the riots, Modi said that "What is happening is a chain of action and reactio
n."[2] Later in 2002, Modi said the way in which he had handled the media was hi
s only regret regarding the episode.[96] Modi has not offered an apology for the
riots.[11] In March 2008, the Supreme Court reopened several cases related to t
he 2002 riots, including that of the Gulbarg Society massacre, and established a
Special Investigation Team (SIT) to look into the issue.[85][97][98] In respons
e to a petition from Zakia Jafri (widow of Ehsan Jafri, who was killed in the Gu
lbarg Society massacre), in April 2009 the court also asked the SIT to investiga
te the issue of Modi's complicity in the killings.[97] The SIT questioned Modi i
n March 2010; in May, it presented to the court a report finding no evidence aga
inst him.[97][99] In July 2011, the court-appointed amicus curiae Raju Ramachand
ran submitted his final report to the court. Contrary to the SIT's position, he
said that Modi could be prosecuted based on the available evidence.[100][101] Th
e Supreme Court gave the matter to the magistrate's court. The SIT examined Rama
chandran's report, and in March 2012 submitted its final report, asking for the
case to be closed. Zakia Jaffri filed a protest petition in response. In Decembe
r 2013 the magistrate's court rejected the protest petition, accepting the SIT's
finding that there was no evidence against the chief minister.[102]
2002 election
Modi and former Prime Minister Vajpayee looking at a blue-covered report
Modi with Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in 2002.
In the aftermath of the violence there were widespread calls for Modi to resign
as chief minister from within and outside the state, including from leaders of t
he Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam and the Telugu Desam Party (allies in the BJP-led N
ational Democratic Alliance coalition), and opposition parties stalled Parliamen
t over the issue.[103] Modi submitted his resignation at the April 2002 BJP nati
onal executive meeting in Goa, but it was not accepted.[104] His cabinet had an
emergency meeting on 19 July 2002, after which it offered its resignation to the
Gujarat Governor S. S. Bhandari, and the state assembly was dissolved.[105][106
] Despite opposition from the election commissioner, who said that a number of v
oters were still displaced, Modi succeeded in advancing the election to December
2002.[107] In the elections, the BJP won 127 seats in the 182-member assembly.[
108] Although Modi later denied it, he made significant use of anti-Muslim rheto
ric during his campaign,[109][110][111][112] and the BJP profited from religious
polarisation among the voters.[107] Modi hired the public relations firm APCO W
orldwide to manage his image.[107] He won the Maninagar constituency, receiving
1,13,589 of 1,54,981 votes and defeating INC candidate Yatin Oza by 75,333 votes
.[113] On 22 December 2002, Bhandari swore Modi in for a second term.[114] Modi
framed the criticism of his government for human rights violations as an attack
upon Gujarati pride, a strategy which led to the BJP winning two-thirds of the s
eats in the state assembly.[1][109]
Second term
During Modi's second term the rhetoric of the government shifted from Hindutva t
o Gujarat's economic development.[69][1][109] Modi curtailed the influence of Sa
ngh Parivar organisations such as the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) and the Vishva
Hindu Parishad (VHP),[115] entrenched in the state after the decline of Ahmedab
ad's textile industry,[69] and dropped Gordhan Zadafia (an ally of former Sangh
co-worker and VHP state chief Praveen Togadia) from his cabinet. When the BKS st
aged a farmers' demonstration Modi ordered their eviction from state-provided ho
uses, and his decision to demolish 200 illegal temples in Gandhinagar deepened t
he rift with the VHP.[115][116] Sangh organisations were no longer consulted or
informed in advance about Modi's administrative decisions.[115] Nonetheless, Mod
i retained connections with some Hindu nationalists. Modi wrote a forward to a t
extbook by Dinanath Batra released in 2014, which stated that ancient India poss
essed technologies including test-tube babies.[117][118]
Modi's relationship with Muslims continued to attract criticism. Prime Minister
Atal Bihari Vajpayee (who asked Modi for tolerance in the aftermath of the 2002
Gujarat violence and supported his resignation as chief minister)[119][120] dist
anced himself, reaching out to North Indian Muslims before the 2004 Lok Sabha el
ections. After the elections Vajpayee called the violence in Gujarat a reason fo
r the BJP's electoral defeat and said it had been a mistake to leave Modi in off
ice after the riots.[121][122]
Questions about Modi's relationship with Muslims were also raised by many Wester
n nations during his tenure as chief minister. Modi was barred from entering the
United States under a provision of the Immigration and Nationality Act banning
violators of religious freedom,[123] the only person denied a US visa under this
provision.[124] The UK and the European Union refused to admit him because of w
hat they saw as his role in the riots. As Modi rose to prominence in India, the
UK[125] and the EU[126] lifted their bans in October 2012 and March 2013, respec
tively, and after his election as prime minister he was invited to Washington.[1
During the run-up to the 2007 assembly elections and the 2009 general election,
the BJP intensified its rhetoric on terrorism.[129] In July 2006, Modi criticise
d Prime Minister Manmohan Singh " for his reluctance to revive anti-terror legis
lation" such as the 2002 Prevention of Terrorism Act. He asked the national gove
rnment to allow states to invoke tougher laws in the wake of the 2006 Mumbai tra
in bombings.[130] In 2007 Modi authored Karmayog, a 101-page booklet discussing
manual scavenging. In it, Modi argued that scavenging was a "spiritual experienc
e" for Dalits.[131][132][133] However, this book was not circulated that time be
cause of the election code of conduct.[134] After the November 2008 Mumbai attac
ks, Modi held a meeting to discuss the security of Gujarat's 1,600-kilometre (99
0 mi)-long coastline, resulting in government authorisation of 30 high-speed sur
veillance boats.[135] In July 2007 Modi completed 2,063 consecutive days as chie
f minister of Gujarat, making him the longest-serving holder of that post,[136]
and the BJP won 122 of 182 state-assembly seats in that year's election.[137]
Development projects
The Sardar Sarovar Dam during a 2006 height increase.
As Chief Minister, Modi favoured privatisation and small government, which was a
t odds with the philosophy of the RSS, usually described as anti-privatisation a
nd anti-globalisation. His policies during his second term have been credited wi
th reducing corruption in the state. He established financial and technology par
ks in Gujarat and during the 2007 Vibrant Gujarat summit, real-estate investment
deals worth ?6.6 trillion were signed.[69]
The governments led by Patel and Modi supported NGOs and communities in the crea
tion of groundwater-conservation projects. By December 2008, 500,000 structures
had been built, of which 113,738 were check dams, which helped recharge the aqui
fers beneath them.[138] Sixty of the 112 tehsils which had depleted the water ta
ble in 2004 had regained their normal groundwater levels by 2010.[139] As a resu
lt, the state's production of genetically modified cotton increased to become th
e largest in India.[138] The boom in cotton production and its semi-arid land us
e[140] led to Gujarat's agricultural sector growing at an average rate of 9.6 pe
rcent from 2001 to 2007.[141] Public irrigation measures in central and southern
Gujarat, such as the Sardar Sarovar Dam, were less successful. The Sardar Sarov
ar project only irrigated 4 6% of the area intended.[138] Nonetheless, from 2001 t
o 2010 Gujarat recorded an agricultural growth rate of 10.97 percent the highest
of any state.[140] However, sociologists have pointed out that the growth rate
under the 1992 97 INC government was 12.9 percent.[142] In 2008 Modi offered land
in Gujarat to Tata Motors to set up a plant manufacturing the Nano after a popul
ar agitation had forced the company to move out of West Bengal. Several other co
mpanies followed the Tata's to Gujarat.[143]
The Modi government finished the process of bringing electricity to every villag
e in Gujarat that its predecessor had almost completed.[142] Modi significantly
changed the state's system of power distribution, greatly impacting farmers. Guj
arat expanded the Jyotigram Yojana scheme, in which agricultural electricity was
separated from other rural electricity; the agricultural electricity was ration
ed to fit scheduled irrigation demands, reducing its cost. Although early protes
ts by farmers ended when those who benefited found that their electricity supply
had stabilised,[138] according to an assessment study corporations and large fa
rmers benefited from the policy at the expense of small farmers and labourers.[1
Development debate
Modi speaking at flower-decked podium
Modi addressing graduates of the Gujarat National Law University in 2012.
There has been a contentious debate surrounding the development of the state of
Gujarat during Modi's tenure as chief minister.[145] The GDP growth rate of Guja
rat averaged 10% during Modi's tenure, a value above that of the country as a wh
ole, and similar to other highly industrialised states.[143] Gujarat also had a
high rate of economic growth in the 1990s, before Modi took office.[146] Some sc
holars have stated the rate of growth did not accelerate during Modi's tenure,[1
46] although the state is considered to have maintained a high growth rate durin
g Modi's Chief Ministership.[90] Under Modi, Gujarat topped the World Bank's "ea
se of doing business" rankings among Indian states for two consecutive years.[14
7] In 2013, Gujarat was ranked first among Indian states for "economic freedom"
by a report measuring governance, growth, citizens' rights and labour and busine
ss regulation among the country's 20 largest states.[143][148] In the later year
s of Modi's government, Gujarat's economic growth was frequently used as an argu
ment to counter allegations of communalism.[1] Tax breaks for businesses were ea
sier to obtain in Gujarat than in other states, as was land. Modi's policies to
make Gujarat attractive for investment included the creation of Special Economic
Zones, where labour laws were greatly weakened.[109]
Despite its growth rate, Gujarat had a relatively poor record on human developme
nt, poverty relief, nutrition and education during Modi's tenure. In 2013, Gujar
at ranked 13th in the country with respect to rates of poverty and 21st in educa
tion. Nearly 45 percent of children under five were underweight and 23 percent w
ere undernourished, putting the state in the "alarming" category on the India St
ate Hunger Index.[149][150] A study by UNICEF and the Indian government found th
at Gujarat under Modi had a poor record with respect to immunisation in children
Over the decade from 2001 to 2011, Gujarat did not change its position relative
to the rest of the country with respect to poverty and female literacy, remainin
g near the median of the 29 Indian states.[90] It showed only a marginal improve
ment in rates of infant mortality, and its position with respect to individual c
onsumption declined.[90] With respect to the quality of education in government
schools, the state ranked below most Indian states.[90] The social policies of t
he government generally did not benefit Muslims, Dalits, and Adivasis, and gener
ally increased social inequalities.[90] Development in Gujarat was generally lim
ited to the urban middle class, and citizens in rural areas or from lower castes
were increasingly marginalised. In 2013 the state ranked 10th of 21 Indian stat
es in the Human Development Index. Political Scientist Christophe Jaffrelot says
that under Modi the number of families below the poverty line has increased and
conditions for rural adivasi and dalits, in particular, have declined.[5] Under
Modi, the state government spent far less than the national average on educatio
n and healthcare.[90] In July 2013, economics Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen express
ed disapproval of Modi's governance record, saying that under his administration
Gujarat's "record in education and healthcare is pretty bad".[152] However, eco
nomists Arvind Panagariya and Jagdish Bhagwati say that Gujarat's social indicat
ors have improved from a lower baseline than that of other Indian states. Accord
ing to them, Gujarat's performance in raising literacy rates has been superior t
o other states and the "rapid" improvement of health indicators is evidence that
"its progress has not been poor by any means."[153]
Final years
Modi talking to a woman; both are seated.
Modi with Anandiben Patel at a meeting of BJP MLAs after his election as prime m
inister; Patel succeeded him as Gujarat chief minister.
Further information: Gujarat Legislative Assembly election, 2012
During the 2012 campaign, Modi attempted to identify himself with the state of G
ujarat, a strategy similar to that used by Indira Gandhi during the Emergency, a
nd projected himself as protecting Gujarat against persecution by the rest of In
Despite the BJP's shift away from explicit Hindutva, Modi's election campaign in
2007 and 2012 contained elements of Hindu nationalism. Modi only attended Hindu
religious ceremonies, and had prominent associations with Hindu religious leade
rs. During his 2012 campaign he twice refused to wear articles of clothing gifte
d by Muslim leaders.[109] He did, however, maintain relations with Dawoodi Bohra
.[109] His campaign included references to issues known to cause religious polar
isation, including to Afzal Guru and the killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh. The BJP
did not nominate any Muslim candidates for the assembly election of 2012.[109] H
e had published a Gujarati book titled Jyotipunj in 2008, containing profiles of
various RSS leaders. The longest was of M. S. Golwalkar, under whose leadership
the RSS expanded and whom Modi refers to as Pujniya Shri Guruji ("Guru worthy o
f worship").[154] According to The Economic Times, his intention was to explain
the workings of the RSS to his readers and to reassure RSS members that he remai
ned ideologically aligned with them. Modi authored eight other books, mostly con
taining short stories for children.[155]
While campaigning for the 2012 assembly elections, Modi made extensive use of ho
lograms and other technologies allowing him to reach a large number of people,[1
07] something he would repeat in the 2014 general election. In the 2012 Gujarat
Legislative Assembly elections, Modi won the constituency of Maninagar by 86,373
votes over Shweta Bhatt, the INC candidate and wife of Sanjiv Bhatt.[156] The B
JP won 115 of the 182 seats, continuing its majority during his tenure[157] and
allowing the party to form the government (as it had in Gujarat since 1995).[158
] In later by-elections the BJP won four more assembly seats and two Lok Sabha s
eats held by the INC, although Modi did not campaign for its candidates.[159] In
2013, the Wharton India Economic Forum (WIEF) at the Wharton School of the Univ
ersity of Pennsylvania cancelled a keynote video-conference speech by Modi follo
wing protests by Indian-Americans.[160] After his election as prime minister, Mo
di resigned as the chief minister and as an MLA from Maninagar on 21 May 2014. A
nandiben Patel succeeded him as the chief minister.[161]
2014 Indian general election
Main article: Bharatiya Janata Party campaign for Indian general election, 2014
Modi addressing a large crowd from a podium
Modi addressing a rally in Meerut during the 2014 general election campaign.
In September 2013 Modi was named the BJP's candidate for prime minister in the 2
014 Lok Sabha election.[162][163] Several BJP leaders expressed opposition to Mo
di's candidature,[164] including BJP founding member L. K. Advani, who cited con
cern with leaders who were "concerned with their personal agendas".[165] Modi pl
ayed a dominant role in the BJP's election campaign.[166][167] Several people wh
o voted for the BJP stated that if Modi had not been the prime-ministerial candi
date, they would have voted for another party.[168][162][168][169] The focus on
Modi as an individual was unusual for a BJP election campaign.[164][170] The ele
ction was described as a referendum on Narendra Modi.[145]
During the campaign, Modi focused on the corruption scandals under the previous
INC government, and played on his image as a politician who had created a high r
ate of GDP growth in Gujarat.[145][164] Modi projected himself as a person who c
ould bring about "development," without focus on any specific policies.[164] His
message found support among young Indians and among middle-class citizens.[145]
The BJP under Modi was able to downplay concerns about the protection of religi
ous minorities and Modi's commitment to secularism, areas in which he had previo
usly received criticism.[145] Prior to the election Modi's image in the media ha
d centered around his role in the 2002 Gujarat riots, but during the campaign th
e BJP was able to shift this to a focus on Modi's neoliberal ideology and the Gu
jarat model of development.[167] Although the BJP avoided issues of Hindu nation
alism to an extent, Hindutva remained a significant part of its campaign.[164][1
68][12] The BJP's campaign was assisted by its wide influence in the media.[150]
Modi's campaign blitz cost approximately ?50 billion (US$780 million),[145] and
received extensive financial support from corporate donors.[150] In addition to
more conventional campaign methods, Modi made extensive use of social media,[14
5][164] and addressed more than 1000 rallies via hologram appearances.[12]
The BJP won 31% of the vote,[11] and more than doubled its tally in the Lok Sabh
a to 282, becoming the first party to win a majority of seats on its own since 1
984.[167][168] Voter dissatisfaction with the INC, as well as with regional part
ies in North India, was another reason for the success of the BJP,[168] as was t
he support from the RSS.[164] In states such as Uttar Pradesh in which the BJP p
erformed well, it drew exceptionally high support from upper-caste Hindus, altho
ugh the 10 percent of Muslim votes won was more than it had won before. It perfo
rmed particularly well in parts of the country that had recently experienced vio
lence between Hindus and Muslims.[168] The magnitude of the BJP's victory led ma
ny commentators to say that the election constituted a political realignment awa
y from progressive parties and towards the right-wing.[145][168][171][172] Modi'
s tweet announcing his victory was described as being emblematic of the politica
l realignment away from a secular, socialist state towards capitalism and Hindu
cultural nationalism.[173]
Modi himself was a candidate for the Lok Sabha in two constituencies: Varanasi a
nd Vadodara.[174] He won in both constituencies, defeating Aam Aadmi Party leade
r Arvind Kejriwal in Varanasi and Madhusudan Mistry of the INC in Vadodara by 57
0,128 votes.[175] Modi, who was unanimously elected leader of the BJP, was appoi
nted prime minister by India's president.[176][177] To comply with the law that
an MP cannot represent more than one constituency, he vacated the Vadodara seat.
Prime Minister
Main article: Premiership of Narendra Modi
For a chronological guide to this subject, see Timeline of the premiership of Na
rendra Modi.
Modi reading from a paper into a bank of microphones
Modi (far right) being sworn in as Prime Minister, in the presence of President
Pranab Mukherjee (far left), 2014.
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Modi was sworn in as the Prime Minister of India on 26 May 2014 at the Rashtrapa
ti Bhavan. He became the first Prime Minister born after India's independence fr
om the British Empire.[179] His first cabinet consisted of 45 ministers, 25 fewe
r than the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government.[180] 21 new mi
nisters were added to the council of ministers in November 2014.[181]
Economic policies
The economic policies of Modi's government focused on privatisation and liberali
sation of the economy, based on a neoliberal framework.[181][182] Modi liberalis
ed India's foreign direct investment policies, allowing more foreign investment
in several industries, including in defence and the railways.[181][183][184] Oth
er reforms included removing many of the country's labour laws, to make it harde
r for workers to form unions and easier for employers to hire and fire them. The
se reforms met with support from institutions such as the World Bank, but opposi
tion from scholars within the country. The labour laws also drew strong oppositi
on from unions: on 2 September 2015, eleven of the country's largest unions went
on strike, including one affiliated with the BJP.[182] The Bharatiya Mazdoor Sa
ngh, a constituent of the Sangh Parivar, stated that the reforms would hurt labo
urers by making it easier for corporations to exploit them.[181] In his first bu
dget, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley promised to gradually reduce the budgetary d
eficit from 4.1 percent to 3 percent over two years, and to divest from shares i
n public banks.[181] Over Modi's first year in office, the Indian GDP grew at a
rate of 7.5 percent, making it the world's fastest-growing large economy.[182]
The funds dedicated to poverty reduction programmes and social welfare measures
were greatly decreased by the Modi administration.[118] The money spent on socia
l programmes declined from 14.6% of GDP during the Congress government to 12.6%
during Modi's first year in office.[181] Spending on health and family welfare d
eclined by 15%, and on primary and secondary education by 16%.[181] The budgetar
y allocation for the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, or the "education for all" programme
, declined by 22%.[181] The government also lowered corporate taxes, abolished t
he wealth tax, and reduced customs duties on gold, jewelry, and increased sales
taxes.[181] In October 2014, the Modi government deregulated diesel prices,[185]
and later increased taxes on diesel and petrol.[181]

Modi at the launch of the Make in India programme.

In September 2014, Modi introduced the Make in India initiative to encourage for
eign companies to manufacture products in India, with the goal of turning the co
untry into a global manufacturing hub.[181][186] Supporters of economic liberali
sation supported the initiative, while critics argued it would allow foreign cor
porations to capture a greater share of the Indian market.[181] In order to enab
le the construction of private industrial corridors, the Modi administration pas
sed a land-reform bill that allowed it to acquire private agricultural land with
out conducting a social impact assessment, and without the consent of the farmer
s who owned it.[187] Under the previous bill, the government had required the co
nsent of 80% of the owners of a piece of property before acquiring it for a priv
ate project: this requirement was waived.[188] The bill was passed via an execut
ive order after it faced opposition in parliament, but was eventually allowed to
On 25 June 2015, Modi launched a programme intended to develop 100 smart cities.
[189] The "Smart Cities" programme is expected to bring Information Technology c
ompanies an extra benefit of ?20 billion (US$310 million).[190] In June 2015, Mo
di launched the "Housing for All By 2022" project, which intends to eliminate sl
ums in India by building about 20 million affordable homes for India's urban poo
In his first cabinet decision, Modi set up a team to investigate black money.[19
2] On 9 November 2016, the government demonetised ?500 and ?1000 banknotes, with
the stated intention of curbing corruption, black money, the use of counterfeit
currency, and terrorism.[193] The move led to widespread protests throughout th
e country, including one by opposition parties, which stalled the winter session
of parliament.[194] In the days following the demonetisation, banks across the
country faced severe cash shortages,[195][196][197] which had detrimental effect
s on a number of small businesses, on agriculture, and on transportation. People
seeking to exchange their notes had lengthy waits, and several deaths were link
ed to the rush to exchange cash.[198][199] Following Modi's announcement, the In
dian stock indices BSE SENSEX and NIFTY 50 declined steeply.[200]
Health and sanitation policies
See also: Swachh Bharat Abhiyan
Modi participates in the cleanliness drive in his constituency of Varanasi.
In his first year as prime minister, Modi reduced the amount of money spent by t
he government on healthcare.[151] The Modi government launched a "New Health Pol
icy" in January 2015, although this did not increase the government's spending o
n healthcare, instead emphasizing the role of private healthcare organisations.
This represented a shift away from the policy of the previous Congress governmen
t, which had supported programmes to assist public health goals, including reduc
ing child and maternal mortality rates.[201] The National Health Mission, which
included public health programmes targeted at these indices received nearly 25%
less funds in 2015 than in the previous year. 15 national health programmes, inc
luding those aimed at controlling tobacco use and supporting healthcare for the
elderly, were merged with the National Health Mission, and received less funds t
han in previous years. Modi initially appointed Harsh Vardhan, a doctor and an a
dvocate of tobacco control, as minister of health. However, Vardhan was removed
in November 2015.[201] The government introduced stricter packaging laws for tob
acco which requires 85% of the packet size to be covered by pictorial warnings.[
202] In its budget for the second year after it took office, the Modi government
reduced healthcare spending by 15%.[201] Modi has generally emphasised his gove
rnment's efforts at sanitation as a means of ensuring good health. An article in
the medical journal Lancet stated that the country "might have taken a few step
s back in public health" under Modi.[201]
On 2 October 2014, Modi launched the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan ("Clean India") campa
ign. The stated goals of the campaign included eliminating open defecation and m
anual scavenging.[203][204] The plan was to achieve these aims in five years.[20
4] As part of the programme, the Indian government began constructing millions o
f toilets in rural areas and encouraging people to use them.[205][206][207] The
government also announced plans to build new sewage treatment plants.[208] The a
dministration plans to construct 60 million toilets by 2019. The construction pr
ojects have faced allegations of corruption, and have faced severe difficulty in
getting people to use the toilets constructed for them.[204][205][206]
Hindutva and education policy
During the 2014 election campaign, the BJP sought to identify itself with politi
cal leaders known to have opposed Hindu nationalism, including B. R. Ambedkar, S
ubhas Chandra Bose, and Ram Manohar Lohia.[118] The campaign also saw the use of
rhetoric based on Hindutva, however, by BJP leaders in certain states.[209] Com
munal tensions were played upon especially in Uttar Pradesh and the states of No
rtheast India.[209] A proposal for the controversial Uniform Civil Code was a pa
rt of the BJP's election manifesto.[12]
Several state governments headed by the BJP have enacted policies aligned with H
indutva after the election of Modi as prime minister. The government of Maharash
tra banned the killing of cows in 2014.[209] The Modi administration has general
ly avoided directly supporting policies related to a Hindutva agenda.[209] There
has been an increase in the activities of a number of other Hindu nationalist o
rganisations, sometimes with the support of the government.[118][209] The incide
nts included a Hindu religious conversion programme, a campaign against the alle
ged Islamic practice of "Love Jihad", and attempts to celebrate Nathuram Godse,
the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi, by members of the right wing Hindu Mahasabha.[11
8] The attempts at religious conversion have been described by the VHP and other
organisations involved with them as attempts at "reconversion" from Islam or Ch
ristianity. There have been a number of reports of intimidation or coercion of t
he subjects during these attempts.[209] Officials in the government, including t
he Home Minister, have defended the attempts.[209] There were additional inciden
ts of violence targeted at religious minorities by Hindu nationalists.[118] Modi
refused to remove a government minister from her position after a popular outcr
y resulted from her referring to religious minorities as "bastards."[118] Commen
tators have suggested, however, that the violence was perpetrated by radical Hin
du nationalists to undercut the authority of Modi.[118]
The Modi administration appointed Yellapragada Sudershan Rao, who had previously
been associated with the RSS, chairperson of the Indian Council of Historical R
esearch (ICHR).[12] In reaction to his appointment, other historians and former
members of the ICHR, including those sympathetic to the ruling party, questioned
his credentials as a historian. Several stated that the appointment was part of
an agenda of cultural nationalism.[12][210][211]
The government began formulating a New Education Policy, or NEP, soon after its
election. As of March 2016, this policy had yet to be implemented. This was the
third education policy introduced by the Indian government, following those of 1
968 and 1986. The policy was described as having overtones of Hindutva. The RSS
had a role in its creation, and it did not explicitly mention the goals of "soci
alism, secularism and democracy" that had been mentioned in the first two polici
es. The policy emphasised the education of minority students, as well as those o
f economically backward groups, in particular on improving enrolment in schools
among those groups. The policy proposed bringing religious educational instituti
ons under the Right to Education Act. There was also a debate about removing cas
te-based reservation in favour of reservation based on income, a move supported
by the RSS, but which was criticised as being discriminatory on the basis of cas
Foreign policy
Further information: Foreign policy of Narendra Modi and List of prime ministeri
al trips made by Narendra Modi
Modi with other BRICS leaders in 2016. Left to right: Temer, Modi, Xi, Putin and
Prime Minister Modi with President Barack Obama of the US, 2015
Foreign policy played a relatively small role in Modi's election campaign, and d
id not feature prominently in the BJP's election manifesto.[213] Modi invited al
l the other leaders of SAARC countries to his swearing in ceremony as prime mini
ster.[214][215] He was the first Indian prime minister to do so.[216]
Modi's foreign policy, similarly to that of the preceding INC government, focuse
d on improving economic ties, security, and regional relations.[213] Modi contin
ued Manmohan Singh's policy of "multialignment."[217] The Modi administration tr
ied to attract foreign investment in the Indian economy from several sources, es
pecially in East Asia, with the use of slogans such as "Make in India" and "Digi
tal India".[217] As a part of this policy, the Modi government completed India's
application to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which is led by Chin
a and Russia. (SCO).[217] The government also tried to improve relations with Is
lamic nations in the Middle East, such as Bahrain, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the U
nited Arab Emirates, as well as with Israel.[217] Modi added five bilateral stra
tegic partnerships to the 25 that had been agreed by his predecessors Singh and
During the first few months after the election, Modi made trips to a number of d
ifferent countries to further the goals of his policy, and attended the BRICS, A
SEAN, and G20 summits.[213] One of Modi's first visits as prime minister was to
Nepal, during which he promised a billion USD in aid.[218] Modi also made severa
l overtures to the United States, including multiple visits to that country.[215
] While this was described as an unexpected development, due to the US having pr
eviously denied Modi a travel visa over his role during the 2002 Gujarat riots,
it was also expected to strengthen diplomatic and trade relations between the tw
o countries.[215] As of July 2016, Modi had made 51 trips to 42 countries with t
he intent of strengthening diplomatic relations.[219][220]
In 2015, the Indian parliament ratified a land exchange deal with Bangladesh abo
ut the India Bangladesh enclaves, which had been initiated by the government of Ma
nmohan Singh.[188] Modi's administration gave renewed attention to India's "Look
East Policy", instituted in 1991. The policy was renamed the "Act East Policy",
and involved directing Indian foreign policy towards East Asia and Southeast As
ia.[217][221] The government signed agreements to improve land connectivity with
Myanmar, through the state of Manipur. This represented a break with India's hi
storic engagement with Myanmar, which prioritised border security over trade.[22
Defence policy
Wikinews has related news: Prime Minister Narendra Modi accuses Pakistan
of waging proxy war.
The BJP election manifesto had also promised to deal with illegal immigration in
to India in the Northeast, as well as to be more firm in its handling of insurge
nt groups. During the election campaign, Modi said that he would be willing to a
ccommodate Hindu migrants who were being persecuted in Bangladesh, but those tha
t came with "political objectives" would have to be sent back. The Modi governme
nt issued a notification allowing Hindu, Sikh, and Buddhist illegal immigrants f
rom Pakistan and Bangladesh to legalise their residency in India. The government
described the measure as being taken for humanitarian reasons but it drew criti
cism from several Assamese organisations.[222]
Modi continued the previous INC administration's policy of increasing military s
pending every year, announcing an increase of 11% in the military budget in 2015
.[223][224] This increase was larger than the average growth under the Congress.
The Modi administration negotiated a peace agreement with the largest faction of
the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCM), which was announced in Augus
t 2015. The Naga insurgency in northwest India had begun in the 1950s.[222][225]
The NSCM and the government had agreed to a ceasefire in 1997, but a peace acco
rd had not previously been signed.[225] In 2015 the government abrogated a 15-ye
ar ceasefire with the Khaplang faction of the NSCM (NSCM-K). The NSCM-K responde
d with a series of attacks, which killed 18 people.[222] The Modi government car
ried out a raid across the border with Myanmar as a result, and labelled the NSC
M-K a terrorist organisation.[222]
Modi has repeatedly stated that Pakistan was an exporter of terrorism.[226][227]
On 29 September 2016, the Indian Army stated that it had conducted a surgical s
trike on terror launchpads in Azad Kashmir,[228] although Pakistan denied the cl
aim, and the details of the confrontation are still in dispute.[229][230]
Environmental policies
Modi(right) at CoP21 Climate Conference, in Paris, announcing the founding of an
International Solar Alliance (ISA). November 2015.
In naming his cabinet, Modi renamed the "Ministry of Environment and Forests" th
e "Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change."[231] In the first budg
et of the government, the money allotted to this ministry was reduced by more th
an 50%.[231] The new ministry also removed or diluted a number of laws related t
o environmental protection. These included no longer requiring clearance from th
e National Board for Wildlife for projects close to protected areas, and allowin
g certain projects to proceed before environmental clearance was received.[181][
231] The government also tried to reconstitute the Wildlife board such that it n
o longer had representatives from non-governmental organisations: however, this
move was prevented by the Supreme Court.[231]
Modi also relaxed or abolished a number of other environmental regulations, part
icularly those related to industrial activity. A government committee stated tha
t the existing system only served to create corruption, and that the government
should instead rely on the owners of industries to voluntarily inform the govern
ment about the pollution they were creating.[181][232] Other changes included re
ducing ministry oversight on small mining projects, and no longer requiring appr
oval from tribal councils for projects inside forested areas.[232] In addition,
Modi lifted a moratorium on new industrial activity in the most polluted areas i
n the countries.[231] The changes were welcomed by businesspeople, but criticise
d by environmentalists.[232]
Under the UPA government that preceded Modi's administration, field trials of Ge
netically Modified (GM) crops had essentially been put on hold, after protests f
rom farmers fearing for their livelihoods.[233] Under the Modi government these
restrictions were gradually lifted.[233] The government received some criticism
for freezing the bank accounts of environmental group Greenpeace, citing financi
al irregularities, although a leaked government report said that the freeze had
to do with Greenpeace's opposition to GM crops.[233]
Governance and other initiatives
Modi at the consultation meeting on replacing the Planning Commission with Chief
Ministers of various states.
Modi's first year as prime minister saw significant centralisation of power rela
tive to previous administrations.[118][234] Modi's efforts at centralisation hav
e been linked to an increase in the number of senior administration officials re
signing their positions.[118] Although the government has a majority of seats in
the Lok Sabha, it does not have one in the Rajya Sabha, which led to its polici
es frequently being stymied there. Thus, Modi resorted to passing a number of or
dinances to enact his policies, leading to further centralisation of power.[188]
The government also passed a bill increasing the control that it had over the a
ppointment of judges, and reducing that of the judiciary.[11]
On 31 December 2014, Modi announced that the Planning Commission had been scrapp
ed. It was replaced with a body called the National Institution for Transforming
India, or NITI Aayog.[235][236] The Planning Commission was a legacy of the Ind
ian Independence movement, although critics said that it was slowing economic gr
owth.[237] The move had the effect of greatly centralising the power previously
with the planning commission in the person of the prime minister.[181][188][235]
[236][237] It also reduced the extent of control individual states had over thei
r financial allocation from the union government,[236][237] and unlike the plann
ing commission, it does not have the power to allocate funds.[236] The planning
commission had received heavy criticism in previous years for creating inefficie
ncy in the government, and of not filling its role of improving social welfare:
however, since the economic liberalisation of the 1990s, it had been the major g
overnment body responsible for measures related to social justice.[236]
The Modi government launched a crackdown against a number of civil society organ
isations. Several tens of thousands of organisations were investigated by the In
telligence Bureau in the first year of the administration, on the grounds that t
hey were slowing economic growth. International humanitarian aid organisation Me
decins Sans Frontieres was among the groups that were put under pressure.[118] O
ther organisations affected included the Sierra Club and Avaaz.[181] Cases of se
dition were filed against individuals criticising the government.[118] This led
to discontent within the BJP regarding Modi's style of functioning and drew comp
arisons to the governing style of Indira Gandhi.[118][188]
Modi repealed 1,159 obsolete laws in first two years as prime minister, against
a total of 1,301 such laws repealed by previous governments over a span of 64 ye
ars.[238][239] He started a monthly radio programme titled "Mann ki Baat" on 3 O
ctober 2014.[240] Modi also launched the Digital India programme, which has the
goal of ensuring that government services are available electronically, building
infrastructure to provide high-speed Internet access to rural areas, boosting m
anufacturing of electronic goods in the country, and promoting digital literacy.
Personal life and image
Further information: Public image of Narendra Modi
In accordance with Ghanchi tradition, Modi's marriage was arranged by his parent
s 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 y
ears of travel, including visits to Hindu ashrams.[22][243] Reportedly, their ma
rriage was never consummated, and he kept it a secret because otherwise he could
not have become a 'pracharak' in the puritan Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh.[244][
46] Although Modi kept his marriage secret for most of his career, he acknowledg
ed his wife when he filed his nomination for a parliamentary seat in the 2014 ge
neral elections.[245][246] Modi maintains a close relationship with his mother,
Hiraben and often visits her on his birthday to seek her blessings.[247]
A vegetarian,[248] Modi has a frugal lifestyle and is a workaholic and introvert
.[249] Adept at using social media, he has been since September 2014 the second-
most-followed leader in the world (with over 25.8 million followers on Twitter a
s of December 2016), behind only Barack Obama.[250][251] Modi's 31 August 2012 p
ost on Google Hangouts made him the first Indian politician to interact with net
izens on live chat.[252][253] Modi has also been called a fashion-icon for his s
ignature 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 U
S President Barack Obama, which drew public and media attention and criticism.[2
54][255][256] Modi's personality has been variously described by scholars and bi
ographers as energetic, arrogant, and charismatic.[11][257]
The nomination of Modi for the prime ministership drew attention to his reputati
on as "one of contemporary India's most controversial and divisive politicians."
[145][258][259][260] During the 2014 election campaign the BJP projected an imag
e of Modi as a strong, masculine leader, who would be able to take difficult dec
isions.[145][164][162][168][169] Campaigns in which he has participated have foc
used on Modi as an individual, in a manner unusual for the BJP and RSS.[164] Mod
i has relied upon his reputation as a politician able to bring about economic gr
owth and "development".[261] Nonetheless, his role in the 2002 Gujarat riots con
tinues to attract criticism and controversy.[4] Modi's hardline Hindutva philoso
phy and the policies adopted by his government continue to draw criticism, and h
ave been seen as evidence of a majoritarian and exclusionary social agenda.[4][1
As prime minister, Modi has received consistently high approval ratings; at the
end of his first year in office, he received an overall approval rating of 87% i
n a Pew Research poll, with 68% of people rating him "very favorably" and 93% ap
proving of his government.[262] His approval rating remained largely consistent
at around 74% through his second year in office, according to a nationwide poll
conducted by instaVaani.[263] At the end of his second year in office, an update
d Pew Research poll showed Modi continued to receive high overall approval ratin
gs of 81%, with 57% of those polled rating him "very favorably."[264][265]
Awards and recognition
Modi was named Best Chief Minister in a 2007 nationwide survey by India Today.[2
66] In March 2012, he appeared on the cover of the Asian edition of Time Magazin
e, one of the few Indian politicians to have done so,[267] He was awarded Indian
of the Year by CNN-IBN news network in 2014.[268] In 2014, 2015 and 2017, he wa
s named one of Time magazine's 100 Most Influential People in the World.[269][27
0][271]He was also declared winner of the Time magazine reader's poll for Person
of the Year in 2014, a feat which he repeated again in 2016.[272][273] Forbes M
agazine ranked him the 15th-Most-Powerful Person in the World in 2014 and the 9t
h-Most-Powerful Person in the World in 2015 and 2016.[274][275][276][277] In 201
5, Modi was one of Time's "30 Most Influential People on the Internet" as the se
cond-most-followed politician on Twitter and Facebook.[278] In the same year he
was ranked fifth on Fortune Magazine's first annual list of "World's Greatest Le
aders".[279][280] In 2016, a wax statue of Modi was unveiled at Madame Tussaud W
ax Museum in London.[281][282]
State honours
Decoration Country Date Note Ref.
Spange des Knig-Abdulaziz-Ordens.png
Order of Abdulaziz al Saud Saudi Arabia 3 April 2016 Member Special C
lass, The highest civilian honor of Saudi Arabia [283]
Ghazi Amanullah Khan Medal (Afghanistan) - ribbon bar.png
State Order of Ghazi Amir Amanullah Khan Afghanistan 4 June 2016
The highest civilian honor of Afghanistan [284]
Jump up ^ Sources describing Modi's administration as complicit in the 2002 viol
Jump up ^ In 2012, a court stated that investigations had found no evidence agai
nst Modi.[6][7]
Jump up ^ Sources stating that Modi has failed to improve human development indi
ces in Gujarat.[4][5]
Jump up ^ Sources discussing the controversy surrounding Modi.[4][9][10][11][12]
Jump up ^ The exact number of people killed in the train burning is variously re
ported. For example, the BBC says it was 59,[74] while The Guardian put the figu
re at 60.[75]
^ Jump up to: a b c d e Bobbio, Tommaso (2012). "Making Gujarat Vibrant: Hindutv
a, development and the rise of subnationalism in India". Third World Quarterly.
33 (4): 657 672. doi:10.1080/01436597.2012.657423. (subscription required)
^ Jump up to: a b c d e f Nussbaum, Martha Craven. The Clash Within: Democracy,
Religious Violence, and India's Future. Harvard University Press. pp. 50 51. ISBN
^ Jump up to: a b c d Shani, Orrit (2007). Communalism, Caste and Hindu National
ism. Cambridge University Press. pp. 168 173. ISBN 978-0-521-68369-2.
^ Jump up to: a b c d e Buncombe, Andrew (19 September 2011). "A rebirth dogged
by controversy". The Independent. London. Retrieved 10 October 2012.
^ Jump up to: a b c Jaffrelot, Christophe (June 2013). "Gujarat Elections: The S
ub-Text of Modi's 'Hattrick' High Tech Populism and the 'Neo-middle Class'". Studi
es in Indian Politics. 1 (1): 79 95. doi:10.1177/2321023013482789.[1]
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