News / Asia

Controversial Indian PM Candidate Pledges Change

India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is presented with a traditional hat during an election campaign rally at Gogamukh, in the northeastern state of Assam, India, Monday, March 31, 2014.
India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi is presented with a traditional hat during an election campaign rally at Gogamukh, in the northeastern state of Assam, India, Monday, March 31, 2014.
Anjana Pasricha
India’s controversial prime minister candidate Narendra Modi is believed to be the front-runner in elections that begin next week. His promise of change has gained him an apparent edge in the closely-watched political contest.
 
At a busy Metro station outside New Delhi in India’s corporate hub, Gurgaon, young professionals dash to reach their offices.  But they pause for a moment to say they will vote for Narendra Modi of the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party.  
   
“We see hope from him," one voter said.  "We see that maybe after Modi comes our system is going to improve in many ways in terms of safety, corruption, better economic development, we see our country rising.”

 “I think the kind of image he has, definitely he had certain issues in the past, but the kind of things he has done in Gujarat, he makes a cut above all,” another voter opined.

 “For sure, BJP.  Modi seems to be a strong leader,” a third voter agreed.

Many here are enthused by 63-year-old Modi’s promise to reinvigorate India’s declining economy by replicating nationwide the development model he has spearheaded as chief minister of the western state of Gujarat.

Modi points to his track record in his state: economic growth and literacy rates that are higher than the national average and a flood of business investment due to the creation of sound infrastructure and a reduction in bureaucracy under his watch.  

As he travels across India with his energetic campaign, Modi promises to fast-track development to meet the aspirations of a country where two-thirds of the 1.2 billion population are under the age of 35.  

Modi says changing the country’s destiny, giving job opportunities to the youth, improving the lives of farmers, giving homes, clean water and education to the poorest is a dream he can fulfill.  

His supporters are not troubled by questions over Modi’s secular credentials following Hindu-Muslim riots that killed more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims in his state in 2002.  The Indian Supreme Court has cleared him of involvement.

But Modi’s role during the Gujarat riots continues to raise questions among political opponents and India's Muslim minority.

Political analysts say Modi's advantage is due to the widespread frustration with the Congress Party, which is seen as squandering economic opportunity due to corruption and indecisive leadership.

At a Muslim-dominated market in the Indian capital, there is huge anger with the ruling Congress Party for rising inflation.  But this anger does not translate into support for BJP's Modi, because there is deep suspicion of a man who they hold responsible for the sectarian violence.
 
Shop assistant Rashid Ali says Narendra Modi should not head India's government, in Chandni Chowk market, New Delhi, March 31, 2014 . (Anjana Pasricha/VOA)Shop assistant Rashid Ali says Narendra Modi should not head India's government, in Chandni Chowk market, New Delhi, March 31, 2014 . (Anjana Pasricha/VOA)
x
Shop assistant Rashid Ali says Narendra Modi should not head India's government, in Chandni Chowk market, New Delhi, March 31, 2014 . (Anjana Pasricha/VOA)
Shop assistant Rashid Ali says Narendra Modi should not head India's government, in Chandni Chowk market, New Delhi, March 31, 2014 . (Anjana Pasricha/VOA)
Rashid Ali, 31, who works in a roadside stall selling footwear, says the reins of the government should not be given to Modi.  He says leaders are always involved in the type of riots that racked Gujarat, adding that Muslims want peace, they do not want to fight with anyone.

In a neighboring shop, Mohammad Sami echoes Ali's feelings.  He says he is fed up with India's ruling coalition, but will not opt for the main opposition BJP.  

Sami calls the BJP our open enemy.  He says it is dangerous and will divide the people in the country.
 
Modi brushes aside such fears in his campaign speeches, saying he remains committed to the country’s secular identity.  His efforts to dispel concerns appears to be succeeding, as his image as an effective administrator is overriding fears of anti-Muslim bias.  

Opinion polls show Modi remains the front-runner in the upcoming election.  The BJP is not projected to win a parliamentary majority, but hopes to stitch together an alliance.      

Independent analyst and former journalist Ajoy Bose says Modi is being made out to be “larger than life.”   

“There is a great disenchantment with the Congress's own past 10 years," said  Bose. "Modi promises a change, Modi promises to be decisive, all the things which the Congress has failed to be.  They have had a prime minister who seems to be in denial over his responsibilities as prime minister, so Modi is a powerful figure ...  I do not think there is much of an emotional connect with him [Modi], there is of course a mental connect with a man who can get the country going.”

Bose says Modi is also backed by big business, which sees him as a man who can pull India out of its economic stagnation.  

Political analysts say there is a Modi "buzz," but there is no Modi "wave” and caution India’s massive electorate is so diverse that results are often hard to predict.  But they agree he appears to represent what a young country is seeking: hope, change, and leadership.

You May Like

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Muhammad Rafique from: Ahemedabad
April 27, 2014 5:16 PM
All islamic nation was in minority population,ppl accept Islam ,Islam will come in majority it's a process of islamic world,but in India,modi wants a India will become hindu rashtra,he loves his religion and try to accept this rule of hindutva of all of indian citizen,but all modi bhakt plz yajurvada writes no good advice to shudra ( backward class of India),Islam teach all human Arabic or Africa or any equal at gods eye,hindu belief is very old and real vaidic belief was tortured by Brahmins of India,in Islam we believe all civilisation was come from one father and mother,being human,don't worry stop muslim or cleansing muslim no matter to muslim,bcs muslims life start after death


by: suzane from: USA
April 01, 2014 12:30 AM
Modi is required for controlling Islamic world. When Muslims are in minority, they advocated peace and secularism. Once they reach 50 percent or above, there is no place for non-Muslims. Look at any Muslim majority countries in the world. Western media are – if not biased – do not present the things from complete perspective. Modi accused of not controlling Hindus when Muslims were being killing when he was chief minister of Indian state of Gujarat. Now many people not know why Hindus were killing Muslims. It was happened because Muslims have started that riot by burning Hindu pilgrims returning from pilgrimage and that is without any provocation. Without any provocation – unfortunately yes. Muslims burnt whole boggy of train, rapped women and thrown people back to burning train who were trying to escape. If you look at Indian history where Muslims have ruled some 800 years, there were thousands of such kind of instances on record. Now you people tell, what majority community (Hindus) would do to Muslims if such kind of things happened?


by: powerandprivilege from: USA
March 31, 2014 6:18 PM
Riots occur even after a basketball game [e.g., Tucson, AZ]. Modi is a nationalist in a Hindu majority nation, who has an election manifesto, "INDIA FIRST." An economically strong and healthy India is in the best interest of a global economy. Let us plan our foreign policy wisely - at least this time!

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid