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Despite Controversial Past, Indian PM Candidate Narendra Modi's Star on the Rise
Written by Manasi Gopalakrishnan On 20 January 2014 @ 21:56 pm | 3 Comments
In Citizen Media, English, Ethnicity & Race, History, Human Rights, India, Politics, Religion, South Asia, War & Conflict
General elections  are scheduled to take place in April 2014 in India, and many of the same old players are expected to appear on the ballot. But over the last few years, corruption scandals, rape and several cases of maladministration have led many Indians to lose hope in the existing political parties.
The centrist Indian National Congress  party has formed the Indian government since 2004. Although this has given the country a measure of stability, the party's ministers have also been involved in several cases  of corruption involving the Commonwealth games, coal mining and 3G licensing to mobile service providers . Additionally, the increasing number of cases of violence against women  has made it clear that the common man is now done with bad governance.
Congress led UPA 2 government was the worst government of India. #AICCMeet 
— I Create Brand Buzz (@createbrandbuzz) January 17, 2014 
Recent state-level elections in New Delhi saw the new Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), an offshoot of the anti-corruption campaign launched by social activist Anna Hazare a couple of years ago, emerged in second behind the country's other main party, the Hindu right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) . The party is barely a year old and is already posing a threat to stalwarts like the Congress.
AAP Vs BJP : Is “Aam Aadmi Party” more threat to BJP than Congress in 2014 loksabha general election? http://t.co/SnC8rD8ppk 
— Aggressive Aam Aadmi (@bharat_builder) January 17, 2014 
Amid the fray is one candidate for prime minister, the chief minister of India's western state Gujarat Narendra Modi  from BJP, who seems to be using the people's dissatisfaction to his advantage. A polemic figure for his hotly debated role  in the deadly 2002 riots in the state  between Hindus and Muslims, he's popular in the business world, and seems to be the only option for voters who neither want to depend only a new political party like AAP nor want to vote for the Congress.
In fact, even AAP members like former police officer Kiran Bedi seem to be rooting for him:
Supporting @narendramodi  is a sacred call! To save ourselves from a HUNG Parliament! Yes I Am in a bandwagon–of India First!India Secure!
— Kiran Bedi (@thekiranbedi) January 18, 2014 
“Indian bosses have become so fed up with the status quo that they are prepared to overlook Modi's past,” writes blogger Schumpeter  for the Economist. This is also true for Indian businessmen, regardless of Modi's confusing role during the Godhra riots.
Modi is also said to have a huge support base among the young Indian IT generation, several of whom actively assist him with his online campaign, especially:
In times of difficulty some people break down,While some break records.Performers r born in difficult situations like #NaMo 
— ☆NAMO☆WILL☆BE☆PM☆ (@VisVp) January 13, 2014 
Secular India on the line?
But some believe that Modi may pose a threat  to India's secular heritage.
In 2002, riots broke out  in Gujarat's Godhra after a train carrying Hindus was burnt down as it was coming from the holy city of Ayodhya in North India. What followed was the worse example of Hindi-Muslim violence in India's recent history. Between 900 and 2,000 people were killed, more than whom were Muslim, including Muslim politicians and businessmen.
Modi, who was chief minister of the state at the time, was cleared of any wrongdoing in the handling of the violence by authorities, but still some accused  him of involvement in a conspiracy or not taking enough action. Several commissions  have been set up with the intention of bringing the guilty to justice. As of April 2013, 249 convictions had been secured, 184 Hindus and 65 Muslims, while some victims still await justice .
Although, what Modi achieved in his last re-election  as the chief minister of Gujarat deserves a mention. A documentary by noted Indian television journalist Barkha Dutt revealed that Modi's government managed to garner support from Muslim businessmen who were able to revitalize their businesses after the Godhra carnage. The Open magazine also reports how Modi has managed to reach out to Muslims “like never before “.
But what future does a prime minister like Modi hold for India? In a column in the Financial Express, Mahesh Vyas of the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy claims that investments in Gujarat post-2002 have only reached around 13 percent  of the total investments in India, as compared to 21 percent before the Godhra riots. Additionally, the economic boom has not been equal in all regions of the state.
Others remain wary because of his leadership during the riots and his membership with BJP, a right-wing Hindu party.
— Narayan Lakshman (@narlak) November 5, 2013 
The people of India have a tough choice to make ahead of them.
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URL to article: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2014/01/20/despite-controversial-past-indian-pm-candidate-narendra-modis-star-on-the-rise/
URLs in this post:
 Image: http://www.demotix.com/photo/3390910/narendra-modi-attends-bhartiya-janta-party-lalkaar-rally-jammu
 General elections: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_general_election,_2014
 Indian National Congress: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_National_Congress
 involved in several cases: http://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/inside-trackr-cags-memoirs/
 violence against women: http://www.newstatesman.com/world-affairs/2013/12/why-india-sitting-social-timb-bomb-violence-against-women
 #AICCMeet: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23AICCMeet&src=hash
 January 17, 2014: https://twitter.com/createbrandbuzz/statuses/424114816341385217
 Aam Aadmi Party : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aam_aadmi_party
 Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bjp
 http://t.co/SnC8rD8ppk: http://t.co/SnC8rD8ppk
 January 17, 2014: https://twitter.com/bharat_builder/statuses/424026194770530304
 Narendra Modi: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narendra_Modi
 hotly debated role: http://www.navhindtimes.in/opinion/modi-posing-threat-idea-india
 2002 riots in the state: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2002_Gujarat_violence
 @narendramodi: https://twitter.com/narendramodi
 January 18, 2014: https://twitter.com/thekiranbedi/statuses/424533371172048896
 writes blogger Schumpeter: http://www.economist.com/news/business/21588061-why-indian-firms-are-rooting-narendra-modi-new-business-idol
 #NaMo: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23NaMo&src=hash
 January 13, 2014: https://twitter.com/VisVp/statuses/422776143142342656
 accused: http://indiatoday.intoday.in/story/enough-evidence-to-conduct-trial-against-modi-in-godhra-riots-case-zakias-lawyer/1/291985.html
 Several commissions: http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2014-01-01/ahmedabad/45762483_1_godhra-carnage-justice-k-g-shah-nanavati-report
 some victims still await justice: http://week.manoramaonline.com/cgi-bin/MMOnline.dll/portal/ep/theWeekContent.do?programId=1073754900&contentId=15938095
 Modi achieved in his last re-election: http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2012-12-24/news/35991670_1_gujarat-chief-minister-gujarat-riots-naroda-patiya
 like never before: http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/nation/modi-and-muslims
 around 13 percent: http://m.financialexpress.com/news/column-gujarat-hasn-t-gotten-over-godhra/1216944/
 @nramind: https://twitter.com/nramind
 #India: https://twitter.com/search?q=%23India&src=hash
 http://t.co/dWbT3wjCcu: http://t.co/dWbT3wjCcu
 November 5, 2013: https://twitter.com/narlak/statuses/397839851304677376
 Amit Gupta: http://amitgupta.in/
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