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The seemingly innocuous date of October 7, 2001, is a milestone in Indian political history. That was the day Narendra Modi was sworn in as Chief Minister of Gujarat for the first time. Since then, he has never lost an election as the head of a government and taken on a national role as Prime Minister. As a result, on October 7, 2020, Narendra Modi enters his 20th year as the head of a government. It speaks volumes about his ability to win the people’s confidence over and over again, in greater magnitude every time.

However, the electoral victories and massive popularity are the effects that get noticed often. The tireless work and peerless vision that are behind these victories are the traits that make Modi what he is.

Right from his days as Chief Minister of Gujarat, Modi stood out among his peers. At a time when power reforms meant political suicide, he took farmers into confidence, reformed Gujarat’s power sector, took electricity to every Gujarati village and made it a power surplus state. As PM, he took electricity to every village and every household.

When even national-level investor summits were rare, Modi started the Vibrant Gujarat investor summit in 2003. Since then, both the summit and state have become well-known globally among investors. Similarly, as prime minister, he has ensured record FDI inflows.

The famed Gujarat model needs no introduction. The state saw bumper growth in agriculture despite having semi-arid regions and rapid growth in infrastructure. Modi has ensured freedom for farmers after decades as Prime Minister and India’s infrastructure, which has already grown massively under Modi, is poised to grow even more.

Modi’s emphasis upon saving the girl child and educating her through Beti Bachao Beti Padhao has been widely appreciated. However, this was a logical extension of his Kanya Kelavani programme in Gujarat for girl child education, where the whole government, led by the chief minister, used to stay in villages and encourage the school enrollment of girls.

The reason for Modi’s longevity as an elected leader is his ability to challenge himself continuously, more aggressively than any outside challenger would try to. He takes the risk of setting targets openly and audaciously. Despite inheriting an administration known for policy paralysis, Modi set specific targets for each of his flagship schemes, be it sanitation, rural electrification, housing for all, potable water for all or doubling farmers’ incomes.

His governance — both at the state level and the national level — has been efficient, effective and reformist. However, while it is tempting to go on and on about governance, Modi, since his ascendance in 2001 to the chief minister’s post, needs to be celebrated for a different reason.

Modi represents values that are beyond governance and politics. He appeals to the best in India and Indians, and manages to bring out the best from them. He brought out the best in people and they made cleanliness a mass movement. In a nation where the prevalent political culture was about giving more and more subsidies, he inspired people to give up their subsidies so that the poor could get free gas connections.

India is a diverse and accepting civilisation that, at its best, knows how to transcend identities. Modi, a Gujarati, representing a constituency from Uttar Pradesh, does not pander to any partisan caste, community, class or regional considerations. His appeal transcends these divisions and unites people across the nation towards one purpose — India’s greatness.

The best of Indian tradition teaches stoic dignity in the face of hatred and calumny. It also teaches that such silent, steely and dignified determination powered by the truth eventually outlasts all negativity. That has also been the story of Modi’s rise. A whole ecosystem made him a marked man and has been out to damage his reputation for two decades. Even a small indiscretion would have meant the end of his political journey. In the face of such intense — mostly unfair — scrutiny, he has gone about working towards achieving his goals for his state and later, the nation. His composure and focus made him unstoppable.

Often, those who are “big picture” people are grand visionaries but cannot translate that vision into the relentless action necessary for achieving it. Then there are those who are good at achieving pre-set targets but cannot grasp the larger picture. However, Modi combines both in himself. He is both a visionary and a workhorse. He has the necessary mindset to come up with a grand vision as well as the precision and persistence to handle the dryness of quotidian tasks that act as steps to achieve the vision.

As he enters his 20th year as the head of a government, staggering as his past achievements may already have been, his best is yet to come and it will be the making of an Atmanirbhar Bharat.

 

Author Name: J. P. Nadda

Disclaimer:

This article was first published in The Indian Express

It is part of an endeavour to collect stories which narrate or recount people’s anecdotes/opinion/analysis on Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi & his impact on lives of people

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Modi’s Human Touch in Work, Personal Interactions Makes Him The Successful Man He is Today : Japan K Pathak
October 20, 2021
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On October 7, Narendra Modi completed 20 years as the head of a government. For those of us in Gujarat, we have closely seen the rise of Narendra Modi and how he altered the trajectory of the state. People often ask what is the one thing that separates Modi. For me, it is the human touch, be it in work or personal interactions that has led to him scaling heights.

The 1980s were an interesting period in the politics of Gujarat. The Congress was comfortably ensconced in power, both at the Centre and in the state. Despite its lackluster governance, bitter factionalism and misplaced priorities, it was unimaginable that any other political party would come to power. Hardcore BJP supporters and workers were also uncertain.

It was in such times that Modi made a shift from RSS to a more political life in the BJP. He took up the challenge of preparing the party for the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation elections. One of his earliest steps was to integrate professionals with the BJP. The party machinery reached out to eminent doctors, lawyers, engineers and teachers to join the electoral and political process. Similarly, Modi attached great importance to talking about governance issues in addition to only politics. He was constantly thinking of innovative ways of uplifting people and transforming lives.

As a communicator, Modi was always outstanding and more than that he was motivating. I recall this one particular speech at a medium sized gathering at Nirmal Party Plot in Ahmedabad’s Dharnidhar. For the first few minutes, he made people laugh through the witty comments he was known for. He then went on to ask the crowd — shall we continue joking or shall we talk about issues of national importance? I do not know what courage I developed at that time that I shouted – Both. On hearing me say that he turned to me and said – No, we cannot do both. He then talked at length about BJP’s governance vision, Article 370, the Shah Bano Case and more. The ideological clarity left me spellbound.

Those outside Gujarat would not know that Modi’s cassettes of speeches were very popular in urban Gujarat during early 1990s. These cassettes would include parts of a speech Modi would have given in some part of the state.
One more of his moving speeches came in 1994 just after the Latur earthquake. From the RSS Karyalaya in Ahmedabad, relief material and a few volunteers were sent to Latur. Modi gave an impromptu speech. After the speech, at least 50 people said they want to leave for Latur right away and that Modi’s words have had a great impact on their mind. He dissuaded them and said it is more important relief work reaches than people going, and that they must keep working for the nation where they are.

Narendra Modi’s connect with different sections was also linked to his ability to reach out to different sections of society. The world saw his ‘Chai Pe Charcha’ in 2013-2014 but I cannot forget how Modi forged a bond with different people over cups of tea by interacting with morning walkers. During the 1990s, I met him at Ahmedabad’s famous Parimal Garden where he was addressing a group of morning walkers. I could instantly see the connect. One of the doctors who knew me told me that similar interactions with Narendra Bhai were very helpful for him to understand current affairs.

There are two anecdotes, which to me show the humane side of Narendra Modi. One of them dates back to the early 2000s. Historian Rizvan Kadri and I were documenting some of the works of KeKa Shastri, a doyen of Gujarati literature and veteran of the Sangh eco-system. We had gone to meet him and one thing that struck me was his poor health. I took a photograph and got it sent to Narendra Modi’s office. At soonest, KeKa Shastri had a nurse who would attend to him.

The other relates to author Priyakant Parikh. He had a strong desire that his 100th work be launched only by Modi but the only glitch — he is immobile and homebound due to a major accident. I remember CM Modi going to Priyakant Parikh’s house at Ashram Road and launching his book. Gujarati literature circles were spellbound that a sitting CM would go to the drawing room of an ailing author and launch his book!

Two virtues that have stood him well, which would serve every political person well are – his sharp listening skills and his love for technology. His only regret about technology — that the art of remembering phone numbers was going!

Through his political career, party disciple has been paramount for Narendra Modi. Ambition is not known to him. No wonder the BJP has never lost a single election – be it Lok Sabha, Vidhan Sabha or local body, when Narendra Modi was given the task of coordinating the party strategy. The only time the BJP saw electoral setback was in the year 2000 and that was when Narendra Modi was outside the state.

As journalists, we have to meet several people but Narendra Modi told me when I was a young reporter that these must not be transactional relations but bonds that last a lifetime. Sometime around Holi in 1998 I happened to be in Delhi. Narendra Modi said something I will never forget. He said, “You must have 5,000 numbers in your telephone diary and you must have met them once and that too not in a formal way. You must know them just not as a source but as an acquaintance or friend.” I have not met 5,000 people as Narendra Modi asked me to but it did make me realise the importance of a human touch that is so important. Narendra Modi has it in plenty, which is why he is so successful.

 

Author Name: Japan K Pathak

Disclaimer:

This article was first published in News 18

It is part of an endeavour to collect stories which narrate or recount people’s anecdotes/opinion/analysis on Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi & his impact on lives of people.