Narendra Modi was Gujarat's newsmaker in 2012
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An eventful year in Gujarat saw Narendra Modi convincingly retaining power and emerging as a strong contender for BJP's prime ministerial candidate in the 2014 general elections besides a slew of judgements in the post-Godhra riot cases that convicted many, including former minister Maya Kodnani.
The year proved to be a good one for Modi in the international sphere as well as the UK ended the boycott of Gujarat after 10 years. British High Commissioner James Bevan came to Gandhinagar and met Modi.
He also got a clean chit from the Supreme Court-appointed SIT on his role in 2002 riots, when the report was made public by a local court, in a complaint filed by Zakia Jafri, wife of former Congress MP Eshan Jafri who was killed in Gulburg society riot case.
In the polls, Modi overcame incumbency factor and challenge posed by party veteran leader Keshubhai Patel, who rebelled and formed Gujarat Parivartan Party, to score a
hat-trick of wins by trouncing Congress, which is out of power in the state for the past 20 years. He took the oath of office on December 26.
Modi's resounding victory has made him a strong contender within the BJP for his projection as prime ministerial candidate for 2014, political observers feel.
In the year, judgements of three important riot cases were delivered. All these cases were re-investigated by the SIT.
In the Naroda Patia case of 2002, in which 97 people were killed, a court in August sentenced 32 people to life imprisonment including former BJP minister Kodnani to 28 years and Bajrang Dal functionary Babu Bajrangi to imprisonment till death.
In the two riot cases of Ode village, 27 people were given life imprisonment and five seven years for the brutal murders of 26 people. In the Dipda Darwaza riot case of Mehsana district, the court sentenced 21 to life imprisonment and also sent a retired police inspector to jail for a year.