Narendra Modi, the first Prime Minister of India to have been born post Independence

Narendra Modi was sworn in as the 15th Prime Minister of India on May 26, 2014. He took oath as the PM for second term on May 30, 2019. He is the first Indian PM to have been born after Independence.

Modi was born on September 17, 1950 at Vadnagar in Gujarat’s Mehsana district. According to the BJP’s website, he left home at the age of 17 and embarked upon “Bharat Bhraman (journey of India)”. He had then travelled across the country, including the Himalayas.

In 1972, Modi joined the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). In 1978, he was appointed as the RSS’ “Vibhag Pracharak” and was asked to work in Vadodara. In 1980, he was elevated to the “Sambhag Pracharak” position and was given the responsibility of South Gujarat.

Modi joined the BJP as the organisation secretary of its Gujarat unit in 1987 – seven years after the party was formed. In the same year, elections were held for the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) and the party won. This was the time he came in contact with BJP stalwart LK Advani’s “Nyay Yatra” and started working for the 1989 Lok Sabha elections. Two years later, Modi played a key role in organising “Lok Shakti Yatra”.

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His rise in the BJP coincided with the party’s growth in Gujarat. In 1990, the party won 67 seats in the Gujarat Assembly polls and joined the Chimanbhai Patel-led Janata Dal government. In 1995, the BJP won 121 seats, clinching an absolute majority. In the same year, Modi moved to national politics as the BJP national secretary and was assigned the charge of northern states.

However, his defining moment came in 1998 when he was appointed the BJP general secretary (organisation). This was the time when the BJP had emerged as the largest party in the three consecutive Lok Sabha elections – in 1996, 1998 and 1999.

In 2001, when a devastating earthquake hit Gujarat and the then Keshubhai Patel-led state government grappled with the rehabilitation and reconstruction work, the BJP high command announced a change of guard in the state and sent Modi to replace Keshubhai. Modi became the Gujarat Chief Minister on October 7, 2001.

In the 2002 Gujarat Assembly elections held in the wake of communal riots, Modi led the saffron party to a thumping majority by bagging 127 seats. Modi himself won from the Maninagar seat, which he again won in 2007 and 2012.

Modi became the longest-serving Gujarat CM, serving in the top state post from October 7, 2001 to May 22, 2014, when he resigned to take over as the PM.

In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, 6 national parties participated, which included the incumbent Congress, principal Opposition BJP, BSP, CPI, CPI(M) and NCP. As the BJP’s PM candidate, Modi led the party to a clear majority by winning 282 seats. For the first time since 1984, when the Rajiv Gandhi-led Congress had won 404 seats in the wake of Indira Gandhi’s assassination, a party thus won a full majority of its own. With this, an era of fractured mandates and multi-party coalitions came to an end. It was the Congress’s worst-ever rout as it managed to get just 44 seats.

Like his party, Modi too won spectacularly, from two parliamentary constituencies including Vadodara in Gujarat and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. In Vadodara, he defeated Congress veteran Madhusudan Mistri by 5,70,128 votes. In Varanasi, he defeated AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal by 3,71,784 votes. He chose to retain Varanasi seat.

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In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the Modi-led BJP further consolidated its position by winning 303 seats. The Congress’s tally improved marginally to 52. Modi was re-elected from Varanasi, where he defeated the SP’s Shalini Yadav by 4,79,505 votes.

With the 2019 triumph, Modi became the first PM from the BJP to complete a full five-year term and win an absolute majority for the second term.

Modi’s first term saw many significant decisions including demonetisation and the GST’s rollout. His current second tenure has been marked so far by decisions like abrogation of Article 370 and the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir state into two Union Territories.

Modi has authored many books which include “Exam Warriors”, “Convenient Action: Gujarat`s Response to Challenges of Climate Change” and “Convenient Action: Continuity for Change” among others.

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