2000yr old Thirukural

Monday, October 24, 2011

Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi facts

While these days Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi can’t speak a single sentence without mentioning Gujarat, back in 1998, as party general secretary, he had taken a pledge not to utter a word about his home state. A seasoned politician, Modi was clever to sense that any comment against his rivals would undermine his stature in the organisation. Instead, he regained the party leadership’s confidence — and the reins of the state — by distancing himself from the state. The BJP headquarters at 9, Ashoka Road, was his new home from where he carried out the work assigned to him.
“Mein ek shabd nahi bolunga,” he would often say, arguing, “I will confine myself to the job given by party.” His conferences would veer around India-Pakistan relations, the Kargil war or party programmes. He always exercised caution and clarity.
There was a reason behind his tactic. In 1995, Modi, known for his organisational skills and strategies, was almost driven out of Gujarat. The party was in turmoil in state. Senior leader Shankarsinh Vaghela had openly declared war against Keshubhai Patel. The relationship between Modi and Vaghela had soured. Rivals celebrated when he made his exit from Gujarat.
It made him more determined to display his capability on the national scene. But there was very little space for Modi to prove his mettle. And he always remained a low-profile leader who operated in the background. He was a shrewd politician. He made his moves cleverly without antagonising the power centres. He was clinical and methodical The party’s central leadership was clearly dominated by Atal Bihari Vajpayee and LK Advani. From 1995 to 1998, Modi was entrusted with the charge of five major states.
However, his organisational skills made the central leadership elevate him to general secretary between 1998 and 2001. 
During this time, once in a while, he would regale the media with popular jokes. Or make comments on issues related to national politics laced with sarcasm, but delivered with a straight face. As general secretary and chief spokesperson, he was often coaxed to comment on the state’s developments in vain. Endless questions asked in any form (in public or private) often ended with his favourite phrase: no comments.
In the early days, he occupied a small room in the headquarters’ backyard. Modi seated in his office penning down poems, with his assistant taking down notes was a common sight. He would spend several hours pursuing his passion for poetry and reading.
Getting any information out of him on intraparty matters was almost mission impossible. He would never deviate from his brief on the stated subject. Later when he became general secretary, he got a larger cabin that was done up with huge poster of a waterfall and greenery in the background.
He would receive individuals with a smile. But whatever the provocation, he would never disclose anything on Gujarat. “I can certainly offer you tea. But no information,” he would say.
Modi, who worked in isolation, always gave the impression of being a neutral leader. He was never tagged with the Vajpayee or Advani camps. As an organisational person, he shared an excellent rapport with Advani. At that time there was a perception that Arun Jaitley was his close friend and played a significant role in his Gujarat campaign.
After the 2001 Gujarat earthquake that exposed the cracks within the state BJP, leading to the exit of Keshubhai Patel, the central leadership took the decision to make Modi the chief minister. Life for Modi had come a full circle. And he broke his silence, renewing his pledge to devote himself to the people of Gujarat. And for last decade he has made Gujarat’sasmitha his mantra to ride to electoral success unchallenged in home turf.

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