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FILE - In this Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2013 photo, Gujarat state Chief Minister Narendra Modi meets the media after winning state elections held last month in Gandhinagar, India. — Photo by AP

NEW DELHI: Controversial Indian politician Narendra Modi, tipped as the opposition's prime ministerial candidate in the 2014 general election, was elevated to a key post in his party on Sunday.

Leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) appointed Modi as a member of the parliamentary board, a key decision-making body in the Hindu nationalist party which has been plagued by internal squabbles.

“Narendra Modi is a versatile leader and we are happy that he has been chosen to play a key role in the upcoming elections,” said Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, BJP vice president.

“Modi is very popular; people across the country admire his leadership skills.” Last year Modi secured a fourth successive term as chief minister of the western state of Gujarat. Since then he has been widely seen as pushing to lead the party into the national polls. But the 62-year-old remains a highly divisive figure nationally after being at the helm in Gujarat during bloody religious riots in 2002.

Some 2,000 people mainly Muslims were killed during the month-long unrest, according to rights groups. One of Modi's former ministers was jailed for life for instigating the killings but several investigations have cleared Modi of personal responsibility.

Political analysts said Modi's elevation Sunday was a sign that he has won the support of his party and various Hindu organisations to lead the charge against the Congress-led ruling coalition in the general election.

The embattled Congress and the BJP are poised to go head-to-head in the polls but have yet to name their candidates for premier.

Observers have been predicting a showdown between Modi and Rahul Gandhi, the 42-year-old scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty.

Gandhi, whose father, grandmother and great-grandfather have all served as prime minister is widely expected to lead Congress into the polls after being elevated to the post of party vice-president earlier this year.

Comments (12) Closed

namakwale Mar 31, 2013 01:16pm
Dhamodhar Narendra Modiji will be the next prime minister of India. Because he developed economy& other sectors Gujarat the first state among 28 other states of India! Vive Modiji futur PM of India.
Ravi Ingale from University of Pune. Mar 31, 2013 01:21pm
Good News for middle class Indian people.
Azmat Khan Mar 31, 2013 02:06pm
Modi is a notorious politician.I hope Indians will avoid selecting him as their pm.
truthseeker Mar 31, 2013 02:14pm
Modi for pm he is force for good and as good for muslim rather than divisive corrupt congress
Rajesh Mar 31, 2013 02:21pm
The unfortunate event, actually lead to 790 muslims and 254 hindus dead during the riots in gujarat. the staggering 2K figure is cooked by corrupt media. The ruling congress(so called secular) government presented the actual figures during 2011 in the parliament. Refernce:
Mandeep Mar 31, 2013 02:26pm
Not all the Modi's supporters are communal minded and I am one of them. I believe Modi is being unfairly targetted. His complicity has never been proved inspite of his political rivals running the central government. Riots have happened before also in India, why the rulers of that time are not being held accountable in the same way as Mr Modi ? Mr Modi has proved himself to be an able administrator and under his leadership even the state public sector organizations have started yielding profits. Gujarat is only state in which the state electricity board has started giving profit without any increase in the tarrif and there is 24/7 power supply in Gujarat ! Even state transport is in profit. Those who say private sector was always strong in Gujarat I wonder what they have to say about turnaround in public sector ? The need of the hour in India is good governance. The present UPA II has been a disappointment for a common man. Can anyone deny a series of after another...and no conclusive action? Dr Manmohan Singh barely speaks. Modi's support is growing because of his political rivals clearly visible apathy and inertia and playing secular card against Modi might not work as his party won for the first time in several Muslim majority constituencies. Mr Modi is aware of trust deficit between him and Muslims and I reckon he will fill it with actions, not words. He is best bet for indian Muslims.
shankar Mar 31, 2013 03:15pm
The muslims in India do not like him. He will never be a Prime Minister.
Indian2905 Mar 31, 2013 05:16pm
What had happened in Gujrat in 2002 was one the most unfortunate days we faced in Indian after Independence but as a nation we should look forward and support Mr.Modi for better , improved and developed India . Any country , community or people have a choice to stick with past and thinking all the time for revenge instead of development . Japan is an example of that , bombed by US , lost millions of people and now a developed and power country , sharing even stage with US . Its about attitude and this fella has a perfect attitude for leadership . If we have to achieve 2020 vision then we need people like Modi or Nitish Kumar .
Sandeep Singh Mar 31, 2013 05:48pm
East or West, NaMo is the Best ;-)
khatun Mar 31, 2013 09:40pm
If the people of India votes him to power, there is very little we can do. At least he is coming through democratic process, no matter how much hatred he generates from his adversaries.
vishwajeet Apr 01, 2013 07:31am
He has one negative and it can't supress millions of his positive.He will win with lots of votes and if this happens the face of India will totally change !!
truthseeker Apr 01, 2013 02:11pm
NaMo will change the course of india thats for sure even muslim in gujarat approved him and moved on!