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The Rise and Rise of Narendra Modi: From 'Chaiwala' to a World Leader

The Rise and Rise of Narendra Modi: From 'Chaiwala' to a World Leader


pm modi roadshow

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a roadshow (File photo)

Photo: PTI

Around 1990, BJPFire leader Lal Krishna Advani, then 63, launched his famous Ekta Yatra from Gujarat's Somnath temple, rebuilt in 1951, and headed to Ayodhya, then a controversial site where a 16th-century mosque existed which the Hindus believed in, and archaeological sites. evidence was later confirmed, was built on the ruins of an ancient temple dedicated to Lord Ram. The common link between Somnath and Ayodhya – both sites were razed by the Mughal rulers.

Driving the Rath – a DCM Toyota mini-truck designed to look like a tank – Advani set out to cover 10,000 km from Somnath to Ayodhya via Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and later Bihar after a brief unpleasant halt when the then Bihar Chief Minister Lalu Yadav had him arrested. Its Man Friday from Gujarat, 40-year-old Narendra Damodardas Modi, finally fulfilled his dream of a Bhavya Ram Mandir in Ayodhya on January 22, 2024.

Narendra Modiwho once paved the way for Advanis Rath eventually paved the way for Bharatiya Janata Festivalwhich struggled to gain some prominence after the Ayodhya movement, to become a truly national party and the only party after the Congress to have secured an absolute majority at the Centre, not once but twice.

File photo of LK Advani during his rath yatra in 1990. Also present was Narendra Modi, then RSS pracharak, now Prime Minister.  Photo Reuters
File photo of LK Advani during his rath yatra in 1990. Also present was Narendra Modi, then RSS pracharak, now prime minister. Photo: Reuters

The BJP is now seeking a third term under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Damodardas Modi.

In 2014, Indian politics saw a sea change from a multi-party alliance to an absolute majority, supported by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), when Narendra Modi won a landslide victory in the parliamentary elections. Lok Sabha election on the promise of “acche din”, the campaign which found a good response in the country and the BJP alone won 282 seats for the first time since its creation. The NDA got 336 seats out of 543. The BJP almost doubled the number of votes it got in 2009. Its vote share stood at 31 percent.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah greeted by party workers at the Bharatiya Janata Party BJP headquarters in Delhi in 2019.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP President Amit Shah greeted by party workers at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) headquarters in Delhi in 2019.

And from there the Modi era began.

The era that boasts of development, middle-class empowerment and economic revitalization. And not to mention corruption-free government.

On his path to the top job, Modi faced several challenges and scrutiny over his handling of the 2002 Gujarat riots, during which he received a clean chit from the Supreme Court of India in 2012, two years before the 2014 elections. The story of a selfless leader of a common man, from a very humble family, dedicated to national progress, resonated well with the voters and the Modi Juggernaut is has since become unstoppable.

And yet, PM Modi’s popularity has not diminished. Modi secured an approval rating of 75% in February 2024, up from 65% in September 2023 (last wave), in discharging his duties as the country's Prime Minister, according to the Ipsos IndiaBus PM Approval Rating survey.

The 2014 elections were the prelude to the Modi era.

Riding the Modi wave, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led NDA has been in power for a decade and is fighting for another five-year term in this general election, which has essentially become Brand Modi against the rest.

PM Modi inaugurates development projects in Gujarat
PM Modi inaugurates development projects in Gujarat

Why was Prime Minister Modi's Achhe Din promise taken up with much anticipation by India?

Most of its merit goes to the Gujarat model that we talk about so much! Under the leadership of Narendra Modi, Gujarat has transformed its development trajectory. The state has overcome challenges such as earthquakes and natural disasters. While people predicted that the state would take decades to bounce back, Team Modi quickly propelled Gujarat to recovery in less than three years.

The internationally acclaimed Gujarat model emphasized inclusive and participatory development, leveraging technology to fight corruption and accelerate progress. Modi's image was that of a pro-business, pro-industrialization politician who was credited for dramatically increasing Gujarat's growth rate between 2002 and 2012. Under his leadership, Gujarat held summits of investors and called for investments in the state. It was Modis Gujarat that welcomed the Tatas Nano project after the group had to move out of Singur, West Bengal, following protests by Mamata Banerjee, the then leader of the then-emerging Trinamool Congress, now chief minister of the state.

French President Macron shares a cup of masala tea in Jaipur
Prime Minister Modi and French President Macron share a cup of masala tea in Jaipur

Chaiwala Modi – Of the people, for the people, by the people

The BJP campaign focused on Prime Minister Modi's modest track record compared to the royal, power-drunk Congress leaders, portraying the grand old party as anti-poor. At several public meetings, Modi asked why a Chaiwala could not become the country's prime minister and added that the Congress was making fun of the poor. Some Congress loudmouths added fuel to the fire by insulting Modi. This worked in favor of Narendra Modi, who used every salvo fired against him to take shots at the opposition, and particularly the Congress.

The BJP's campaign with the slogan Abki Baar Modi Sarkar, effectively designed to focus on Narendra Modi – the man who rose through the ranks from nobody to chief minister of Gujarat and then aspiring to become India's Pradhan Mantri – was a masterstroke of the party. The slogan captured people's imagination so well that it was later briefly copied by former US President Donald Trump's public relations team during his re-election campaign.

The Modi magic worked and the BJP got an absolute majority.

On May 26, 2014, Narendra Modi, wearing his iconic kurta (now known as Modi kurta) and a Nehru jacket, was sworn in as the 14th Prime Minister of India, promising Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas.

Narendra Modi is sworn in as Indian Prime Minister in 2014
Narendra Modi is sworn in as Indian Prime Minister in 2014

The NDA led by Prime Minister Modi repeated the same show of strength in 2019 when Team Modi (NDA) won 352 of the 542 seats on which polling was conducted. The vote share for the winning alliance stood at around 45 percent. The runner-up, the United Progressive Alliance, settled for 91 seats with a vote share of 26.4 percent.

Narendra Modi takes oath for second term as Indian Prime Minister in 2019
Narendra Modi takes oath for second term as Indian Prime Minister in 2019

Flash forward 2024 – Team Modi remains strong and aspires for '400 paar' seats even as 26 opposition parties come together to corner the ruling party. As Arvind Kejriwal asserted in a press conference that Prime Minister Modi would retire next year at 75, handing over the baton to Amit Shah, the Prime Minister has his plans ready for the ambitious project ” 2047 Viksit Bharat” (Developed India).

Clearly, the Modi camp is confident not only of being in power for the next five-year term, but also for the years to come and the Prime Minister himself has stated this on several occasions: the last decade n t was just a trailer of Kyuki Picture Abhi Baaki Hai.




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