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BJP candidate for Prime Minister, Narendra Modi -File Photo
BJP candidate for Prime Minister, Narendra Modi -File Photo

NEW DELHI: Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi was crowned as the candidate for prime minister of India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday.

BJP president Rajnath Singh made the announcement in a brief statement to journalists, cementing the remarkable rise of a leader adored by business, yet tainted by deadly religious riots that broke out on his watch.

India is due to hold its largest-ever general elections within eight months.

"I will work hard to achieve victory for the BJP in 2014 elections,” Modi said afterwards, describing himself as a “small party worker” from a small town.

From being the son of a tea-shop owner to running for leadership of one of the world's biggest democracies, Modi has methodically built a fervent fan base. However, as a deeply polarising figure he has also managed to make enemies along the way - even within his own party.

The nomination will pit the business-friendly chief minister of Gujrat against the centre-left Congress party, which is criticized as having turned jaded after a decade at the head of a testy ruling coalition.

Opinions regarding Modi's nomination are mixed. While supporters believe he has the drive needed to salvage a sagging economy and make India a regional superpower, detractors see only an authoritarian extremist who could fan sectarian tension in the religiously diverse nation.

While on the one hand Modi is celebrated as the successful chaperone of Gujrat's economic growth, his success is overshadowed by religious riots that took place in the state just months after he came into office. Nearly 1000 people died as a result, most of them Muslims at the hands of extremist Hindu mobs.

Modi's main opponent may be Rahul Gandhi, an establishment insider who represents the fourth generation of a dynasty that has governed India for more than two-thirds of the 66 years since independence from Britain in 1947.

Nominated just before his 63 birthday, Modi is known for rousing speeches and biting attacks on the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty that leads the Congress party.

In a rally earlier this week, Gandhi sought to diminish Modi's achievements by contrasting his business focus with the Congress party's welfare programmes for farmers and the poor with Modi's business focus.

"The opposition says that infrastructure of roads, airports, bridges is needed to take the country forward. These alone can't take the country ahead unless those who work to make these are taken care of too,” Gandhi declared.

Under Modi's leadership, carmakers Ford, Maruti Suzuki and Tata Motors have been drawn to Gujarat which, unusually in India, enjoys regular electricity supplies and smooth roads.

“The Indian stock market's greatest hope ... is the emergence of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the BJP's prime ministerial candidate,” Christopher Wood, chief equity strategist at CLSA Asia Pacific Markets told the Economic Times newspaper this week.

An opinion poll published last week found that three-quarters of Indian business leaders believe the government of 80-year-old Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has mismanaged the economy and they want Modi to lead the country.

Modi, whose rise came only after a great power struggle within the party, is consistently ranked as the favourite potential candidate for prime minister, but the complexity of India's political equations and a first-past-the-post system mean victory is by no means assured.

Some in the party worry that he is a divisive figure who will make it harder to form a coalition government.

“A socially polarising leader has polarised his own party. Can he run a smooth, stable and effective government at the Centre? Think seriously!” Sudheendra Kulkarni, a close aide of Modi's main opponent in the BJP, posted on Twitter on Thursday.

The party has little support in several important states and its Hindu nationalist philosophy is a turn-off for many Indians, especially among non-Hindu minorities - limiting Modi's appeal to potential allies who rely on those voters.

While the Congress and the BJP remain the country's two largest parties, the rise of regional political movements mean both will have to woo smaller parties to win the 272 seats needed to form a coalition government.

Comments (80) Closed

Raza Sep 13, 2013 07:32pm

The ominous sign for the end of so called secularism in India.

Sonal Sep 13, 2013 07:42pm

"Modi described himself as a small party worker from a small town"

He forgot add "small heart and small thinking" to that.

Congratulations to all Indians - from a population of 1.3 billion, we will be left with deciding between this disgraceful person and the useless Rahul Gandhi. What a tough choice!

This will truly be the start of new era in India's history.

indian Sep 13, 2013 07:44pm

Rest assured he will be the PM

NASAH (USA) Sep 13, 2013 07:52pm

Modi is a petty communalist politician -- he will NEVER become the PM of a secular diverse democratic India.

MKNaeem Sep 13, 2013 08:04pm

Modi is catapulted to candidacy of PM of India becaues he is a poster boy of Hindutva.

ASHOK KUMAR KOTHA Sep 13, 2013 08:07pm

Mr Narendra Modi is equally adored by Gujarati Muslims

Fawad Sep 13, 2013 08:09pm

From terrorist to prime-minister ... what injustice!

Tariq Chauhdary Sep 13, 2013 08:20pm

Most of my Hindu friends believe in the business charisma of Modi by referring Gujrat as an example. Nonetheless, I would rather not ignore the humanitarian side of it keeping in view India's diverse society.

a Sep 13, 2013 08:38pm

Why has this person not been sent to prison for eternity for the killings of hundreds of civilians. Its a shame for india.

Kailash Sep 13, 2013 08:50pm

Well done BJP :) Modi will rock in next Election and i am from south India where BJP do not have presence...But i am sure that BJP wil win many sit from south India...:)

yash Sep 13, 2013 08:58pm

modi is great

Taimoor Khan Sep 13, 2013 09:01pm

And we are labelled as harboring terrorist and what not! And here we got the butcher of Gujrat well on the way to the most coveted position in India. Bravo to our liberal media and to those who non stop talk rubbish about "aman ke basha" and all related non sense. We in Pakistan need to wake up rather fast and call spade a spade. India was , is and will be a hindu terrorist state. Pakistan need to prepare itself on war footing and brace itself.

Mustafa Sep 13, 2013 09:10pm

I second that notion. Danger to Islam is not from Kafirs but Munafiqs. I admire the fact that he openly professes his hate for Islam and Muslims. Churri baghal mey nahi haath mey hai.

Freed0m Sep 13, 2013 09:11pm

Rise and rise of a potential Indian Fuehrer. I fervently hope that Indian masses will have the sense to reject his brand of fascist majoritarian politics.

naeem khan Sep 13, 2013 09:12pm

a salute to secular India

john Sep 13, 2013 09:32pm

welcome modi

jaffri Sep 13, 2013 09:53pm

first step towards BJP defeat. They have braught a candidate of tinted repute

sanjiv Sep 13, 2013 10:39pm

Best Luck Mr. Modi for forth coming election

marghoobahmedsiddiqui Sep 13, 2013 10:46pm

If he is elected as Prime Minister of India, Inshallah, bad days of India will start and she will go to stone age very soon.

A Shah Sep 13, 2013 10:47pm

If this guy wins, its bad bad bad news for Pakistan.

Saad(DXB) Sep 14, 2013 12:15am

Only in India!!!! Modi looked the other way as a Chief Minister when 2,000 Muslims were slaughtered in his state in early 2000s by extremist HIndus and as a reward from BJP whose ideological roots are Hindu Extremism (RSS is the spiritual guide of BJP), Mr. Modi has been nominated as its PM candidate. I suspect if he becomes the PM of India, all hell will break loose between India and Pakistan... God Bless my South Asia.

joker Sep 14, 2013 01:20am

huuuuuu! Pakistan, India is coming be very afraid, be very very afraid..

bhornet Sep 14, 2013 01:28am

Finally a guy who can take the nation forward and has pride in its roots. Congress is like the Democrats in the US, always dividing people based on class and practicing poor economic policy and give aways for votes. The BJP is a party of straight shooters and will be strong on defense.

BJP Sep 14, 2013 03:15am

Modi is not what worldwide media makes him out to be. Congress under Gandhi dynasty is the worst option for regional stability and for communal harmony. Hinduism is not a danger to any other religion, never was and never will be. All violence inflcited by Hindus to minorities have been sadly, politically motivated or in reaction to violence suffered. The Hindu sacred texts don't support hate towards any faith, belief, religion or culture. It does not believe in converting or increasing its numbers. Hinduism is just a culture which indian and Pakistan Muslims already follow to some already. Hinduism is truly tolerant and secular, all religions are allowed as long as peaceful.

gujju Sep 14, 2013 05:14am

Modi is not only good for India but will bring peace in the region.

IndiaUSA Sep 14, 2013 06:32am

Pakistan should stop worrying about Indian is our matter. Modi's victory or loss should be none of your concerns.

Arvind Sep 14, 2013 07:37am

Bravo , india need modi for rapid growth of economy and development

Kris Sep 14, 2013 07:48am


BISWAJIT ROY Sep 14, 2013 08:02am

Modi for PM

Javed Sep 14, 2013 08:22am

We should note that several of Muslim parties have announced their support for Modi. What made them do this?

NASAH (USA) Sep 14, 2013 08:55am

Under Modi India will start assembling Volkswagen to run on Godhra Autobahn to Auschwitz - with no speed limit.

Mohammed Yusaf Khan Sep 14, 2013 09:48am

allah khair karey!

amad Sep 14, 2013 09:55am

modi can also make pakistan terror enjoy pakistani for peace and development.........

Ravi Ingale from Pune Sep 14, 2013 10:08am

Pakistan nothing have to do with the Indian Political problem whether there are Congress or BJP. History is the eye witness, 1971 war during Congress and 1999 Kargil war duing BJP. Both the parties don't have love for Pakistan.

Youth Sep 14, 2013 10:30am

Modi is a good choice, Indian Muslims should vote for him

Sanjeev Kumar Sep 14, 2013 11:32am

Congratulations to Mr. Narendra Modi. He has done wonders for the state of Gujrat and facts speaks the whole story. Hope he could do the same for India if becomes the prime minister.

Pady Sep 14, 2013 11:44am

Congratulations to Modi

BISWAJIT ROY Sep 14, 2013 02:18pm

Modi for PM

Vedic Sep 14, 2013 04:23pm

It is very good decision. Congratulations to him.

Satak bhai baloch Sep 14, 2013 06:34pm

Hope Modi wins!

Sk Sep 14, 2013 08:27pm

I seriously don't understand a Pakistani news journal commenting abt Modi's secular credentials as if there are no sectarian violence in Pakistan and there are no one killed (including Hindu, Muslim and other minorities).

And to both Indian and Pakistani readers pls stop cribbing abt an 11yrs old incidence and move on.....

Finally post 2002 Gujrat has not only been very peaceful but also has demonstrated exceptional growth which has brought benefits to all irrespective of their religion caste ot creed in the state

Ghani K Sep 14, 2013 08:48pm

Poster boy of Hindutva on his way to become PM ! A nightmare for minorities.

Masila Sep 14, 2013 09:52pm

It is good for people to visit to Pakistan without visa. Pakistan will love this, no headache and free trade and free movement of people to Pakistan, all rules will be off and no more headaches for the government in Pakistan.Even Taliban will encourage all of this, they have time to educate all men to be more knowledgeable of Islam. Peace is very close now. Greatness of Almighty

Dipak Sep 15, 2013 12:51am

For the first time in 66 years, a leader has arrived in Modi, that will bring peace, prosperity and self respect back to India. The Nehru-Gandhi (Ghazi-Khan) dynasty has has destroyed India with non-governance, corruption, nepotism weakening the nation in the the worst condition today. With Modi, the second independence of India is just around the corner.

Iqbal Sep 15, 2013 02:16am

Several Muslim organizations in India have supported Modi. It seems he may be the front runner in next elections.

Mohd Ali Sep 15, 2013 04:02am

Good luck to MODI. Hope his supporters vote for him in majority so he can become pm.

uniyal Sep 15, 2013 07:04am

When ever a honest and able person comes to power -he makes inept and corrupt uneasy.India will be much better under him then it is under corrupt congress since last 60 plus years. We need 1000 Modies to make India a true democracy.

SB Sep 15, 2013 08:54am

It;s interesting how most of these left leaning media forgets to mention what instigated the Riot at First. Muslim mobs locked a train carrying hindu Pilgrims and set it on fire killing more than 60 Innocent people, mostly Women and Children. This led to Hindus defending their town from Muslim Jihadists. It has nothing to do with Modi. Modi ordered and mobilized Army within a couple of hours even though his neighboring states ruled by Congress denied to send army to help him stop further escalation of violence. Shame on Unbiased and paid Media people!

BISWAJIT ROY Sep 15, 2013 10:19am

Modi for PM

Harshal Salvi Sep 15, 2013 10:24am

Congrats Modiji.....

amit Sep 15, 2013 11:18am

Best of luck to Mr Modi hope he does well for our country economy.....and he can do he has leadership skills and willingness to succeed.

Radhakrishnan P Sep 15, 2013 11:35am

A fair write up. I was fascinated to see on Youtube a number of Pakistani business men visited Gujarat and praised Modi on his development model and achievement and promoting business relationship. Hope the exaggerated polarisation opinion is proved wrong and he wins the election for the betterment of India/Pakistan relationship too.

Dr. Baig Sep 15, 2013 12:15pm

@Pady: Congratulations for what? A mass murderer becomes a BJP candidate for pm job sounds great. It will bode well for regional stability and peace, I think not. If Modi becomes India's next prime minister then both internally and externally India will see great turbulence. The minorities will feel very insecure and India's neighbours will be apprehensive in any bilateral engagement. I don't see anything good comming out of such an election.

TAPAN MARTHA Sep 15, 2013 12:38pm


TAPAN MARTHA Sep 15, 2013 12:46pm

@Dr. Baig: Mr what i don't know who u r, but please first wash your eyes & try to come out from prejudice thanks a lot for your goddamn coments

TAPAN MARTHA Sep 15, 2013 12:48pm

@amit: i am agree with you

Divakar Sep 15, 2013 01:10pm

@Dr. Baig: Thats only your view.Don't worry about internal turbulance.By the way how do the minorities feel in your beloved "land of the pure" ?????

gopal Sep 15, 2013 02:43pm

@Dr. Baig:

If Indians vote for him, what is your problem?

Modi is not an army dictator.

gopal Sep 15, 2013 02:45pm

@Dr. Baig:

Pakistan has lots to fear as unlike other Indian politicins, he will not go by minority appeasement and shall call spade a spade.

gopal Sep 15, 2013 02:51pm

@SB: Every war against India was also started by Pakistan.

Divakar Sep 15, 2013 02:57pm

@TAPAN MARTHA: Mr Tapan,normal tap water or mineral water will not wash away the screen of prejudice.Any suitable lotion for the purpose is yet to be invented.He will reamain what he is.

Divakar Sep 15, 2013 03:09pm

@Taimoor Khan: Taimoor, you need to come out of Taimoor era and open your eyes wide open.Since you have commented in English,I believe you can read and write English.Take the trouble of doing a little bit of reading on how Gujarat 2002 was triggered.If you don't want to take this trouble,remain happy where you are i.e. Taimoor era.Anyways I agree with you that this tamasha called Aman Ki Asha is just nonsense.Some so called intellectulas on our side of the border are hell bent on displaying to the whole world their intellectual bankruptcy,despite your country's best efforts over last six and half decades to prove that you guys do not want to have peaceful relations with India.

Divakar Sep 15, 2013 03:14pm

@Raza: India was never a secular country.What most of the political parties were doing was appeasement of minorities in the name of secularism.

saeed KHAN Sep 15, 2013 03:21pm


saminuk Sep 15, 2013 03:23pm

@marghoobahmedsiddiqui: And the evidence being?

Anand Sep 15, 2013 04:38pm

@A Shah: Mr. Shaha, No worries. He will win and you will see Pakistani Businessmen given visa for investing in India and also you will see India rapidly marching forward to over take China as long as he is on power.

It would be good for both the countries. Perhaps Pakistan would learn to understand the real growth. Forget the negative side projected by negative media about Riots. Mind you it the state of Uttar Pradesh that leads in number of communal Riots which is led by a spineless government claiming to be purely secular (sick-ular) where both Muslims and Hindus live under fear in some places.

Anand Sep 15, 2013 04:42pm

@ASHOK KUMAR KOTHA: Correct. That is evident. Year after year, election after elections, the % of Muslim votes have ever increased in Gujarat in favor of Mr. Modi. The fact is that they also are reaping the benefit of economic growth in that state.

Anand Sep 15, 2013 04:49pm

@Sonal: You have forgotten that Mr. Rahul will be leading a party that was invloved in Butchering of close to 5000 Sikh minoroties. The same was justified by his late father subsequently. They spoiled the economy by professing scams after scams. I am sure you are happy to vote them.

Avantika Sep 15, 2013 04:50pm

A sincere request to those opposing Modi here.Have you ever been to talk or talked to people there? If not,then you must before you target him without knowing the ground reality,aside from media reports and if you have,you would have known it is the only state with best electricity and rest of the infrastructure.You do not pretend to speak on behalf of all because people(of all religions) have their sense to vote not for vote-bank polarization but development.

Anoop Sep 15, 2013 05:00pm

Even Nehru and Gandhi weren't good enough for the minorities of India. LK Advani today seems like a dove, doesn't he!

By isolating the conservative Hindu Right, it has become big and powerful, which was inevitable. In 66 years of Democracy, it has come to power only for 6 years.

Modi too is a victim of propaganda. Most Modi Bashers(MB) have made him the devil incarnate. It only means the 150 Million strong Muslim population is that much more susceptible to Radicalisation.

G. Din Sep 15, 2013 06:11pm

@gopal: But that is exactly the point. They love their army dictators!

Shubho Bose Sep 16, 2013 04:03am

@A Shah: Yup! That's why India needs him.

NASAH (USA) Sep 16, 2013 07:11am

@IndiaUSA: As Pakistan's Taliban's are India's business -- India's fascist Modi is Pakistan's business.

NASAH (USA) Sep 16, 2013 07:14am

@Iqbal: That's called Stockholm Syndrome.

NASAH (USA) Sep 16, 2013 07:22am

@TAPAN MARTHA: Dream on!

NASAH (USA) Sep 16, 2013 07:27am

@saeed KHAN: Don't worry about the Muslims of India -- that pariah of the civilized world fascist -- will never be the prime minister of India.

nabeel ahmed butt Sep 16, 2013 08:18am

@Avantika: we have no right to oppose modi to become india PM, but what will your people have face that most of the civilized countries do not give him a visa ??

Sonal Sep 16, 2013 01:25pm


I don't live in India and will not / cannot vote, but I didn't say that Rahul Gandhi is clean...I said the choice is a difficult one. Modi might have a great track record of economic performance but comes with a lot of baggage, versus Rahul Gandhi who has nothing concrete to show but comes from a party that

zeeshan ali Sep 16, 2013 02:38pm

I am indian muslim and supporting Modi....... i am businessman and live in surat gujrat .....since modi became chief minister we muslims are earning billions because of development and productive thinking of modi we never need to pay bribe in gujrat we are getting government tenders wisely......whatever happen in 2002 was a mistake of both muslims and hindus....and if you notice Toady gujrat muslims are much secure,happy and successful as compare to other indian states of muslims...even in indian cricket the only brothers are playing together are muslims irfan pathan and yusuf pathan and they are from gujrat.

K Sep 16, 2013 05:11pm

@zeeshan ali: Excellent boss...hope your words are published in leading Indian newspaper and all channels...Yes we need Modi.... The fact is in so called Communal Modi's Gujrat no Riots happend in last 10-12 yrs and calculate no. of riots in great secular SP's UP govt in last one year or so....