Profile: Adore or abhor but you cannot ignore Narendra Modi

Narendra Modi

Narendra Modi, whose hat-trick in Gujarat could possibly pitchfork him as a prime ministerial candidate of BJP in 2014, has always remained a leader with a difference, a personality you may love or hate but cannot ignore.

The 62-year-old former RSS pracharak is no ordinary politician and has carved out a name for development in a state that has always nurtured talent and entrepreneurial skills.

But Modi has more share of controversies and is yet to live down the stigma over the post-Godhra violence that claimed lives of over 1,000 Muslims in March 2002, months after he had taken over as chief minister replacing Keshubhai Patel.

In a state considered the Sangh Parivar's Hindutva laboratory, the chief minister is accused of polarising the state on communal lines.

In fact, he is the most targetted leader in the current times with his opponents ready to go to any extent to hurl invectives on him.

However, he has admirers in equal measure in his party and outside. Modi made feeble attempts to woo the Muslims but the controversial BJP strongman has always projected an air of unconcern.

His critics say that Modi will always have to carry the taint of 2002 Gujarat riots after the Godhra train carnage for which he has consciously avoided expressing regret or offering any apology. In one recent interview, he had, however, said if he was guilty of involvement, he can be hanged.

Modi's admirers, on the other hand, hail him as "Hindu Hriday Samrat".

The situation is so polarised in Gujarat that Sonia Gandhi's remarks accusing Modi of being a "merchant of death" had created a huge controversy in the 2007 Assembly polls.

The description is said to have cost the Congress dear that the party shied away from raking up the issue of post-Godhra riots altogether in the current elections.

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