Narendra Modi is the current chief minister of Gujarat. In office since 2001, he is the longest serving CM of the state. In 2007, he was elected CM for the third term.
Modi has been an RSS member since childhood and an RSS pracharak in his university days. His leadership abilities we recognised in the early days of his student life when he was a leader of BJP's youth wing Akhil Bharatiya Vidhyarthi Parishad. Around that time, he was assigned with the task of creating a strong party base in Gujarat as he was — and is still — seen as a master strategist with keep insight into human psychology.
Modi entered politics in 1987 by joining BJP and rose to the post of General Secretary of Gujarat unit of the party. When he was elected as Chief Minister of the state in 2001, he inherited stagnant growth but soon turned the state's economy around by undertaking administrative and fiscal reforms. As a result, the state's Gross domestic product grew at 10 percent during his first term, the highest growth rate among all Indian states.
His tenure saw one of the worst communal riots in India — the Godhara riots of 2002 that led to the killing of 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus were killed, for which the Modi government was accused of stoking and participating in the genocide. After calls for his resignation by the civil society, the opposition and Modi submitted his resignation leading to dissolution of the 10th Gujarat Legislative Assembly. However, despite public outcry, Modi came to power in the following state re-elections by a clear majority in December 2002.
The Hindu writes:
A radical brand of Hindutva has always been at the core of political discourse and he returned to it at the first first opportunity. This was evident in recent Gujarat poll campaign which he had begun by dwelling on issues of development and then switched to Hindutva, fired by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi's "merchant of death" remarks. Over the last six years, he emerged as the most charismatic BJP leader in Gujarat who could sway the crowd through his championing the aggressive Hindutva.
In April 2009, the Supreme Court of India appointed a special team of investigators to probe Modi's role in the post-Godhara riots, following a complaint filed by Jakia Jafri, the widow of ex-Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, who was murdered in the riots. A report filed by the SC-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) submitted a report in in December 2010 stating they had found no evidence against Narendra Modi in the Jafri case.
In February 2011, a confidential report from the SIT indicted Modi on several counts, while other sources noted that the SIT report does not indict Modi for the riots due to lack of evidence. The report said that Modi not only tried to dilute the seriousness of the situation, he justified the killings of Muslims. The SIT also concluded the government had destroyed wireless records of police conversations on the day of the attack on the Gulbarga Society. The BJP demanded an investigation into the report saying the leak was politically motivated.
On April 14, Sanjiv Bhatt, a 1988-batch IPS officer who was posted as DCP at the State Intelligence Bureau (SIB) during the riots, filed an affidavit alleging that Modi had instructed officers during a meeting on 27 February 2002 to allow Hindus ‘to vent out their anger’ during the clashes and he wanted Muslims to be “taught a lesson”. This the Supreme Court declined to take on record.
On 12 September 2011, a Supreme court order directed the SIT to submit its final report in the Ehsan Jafri case to a lower court.
Updated Date: Sep 12, 2011 12:08:51 IST