Profile: Narendra Modi
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Narendra Modi is leading the 2012 race from the front and looks poised to become chief minister for a record third time in Gujarat.
Born in the other backward class (OBC) middle-class family at Vadnagar, he was the third of six children born to Damodardas Mulchand Modi and his wife Heeraben. He has been keenly associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) since long. He was handed the baton for Gujarat in the late 90s by party leader LK Advani to spearhead the election campaign in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh.
He became the chief minister of Gujarat in October 2001, promoted to the office at a time when his predecessor Keshubhai Patel had resigned, following the defeat of BJP in the by-elections.
Modi has successfully established Gujarat as a thriving business model but has failed againa and again to brush off the 'taint' of having failed to be a good administrator during the terrible riots of 2002.
His third straight win this time, many say that is a foregone conclusion, is likely to put him straight in the national league. With BJP struggling to project a consensus Prime Ministerial candidate, Modi's name keeps cropping up again and again.