News / Asia

Indian Opposition Leader's Win in Gujarat Sets Stage for National Run

Narendra Modi, chief minister for Gujarat state, greets supporters during the celebrations of Gujarat assembly elections in Ahmadabad, India, Dec. 20, 2012.
Narendra Modi, chief minister for Gujarat state, greets supporters during the celebrations of Gujarat assembly elections in Ahmadabad, India, Dec. 20, 2012.
Anjana Pasricha
In India’s western state of Gujarat, the opposition Hindu Nationalist Party is set to win a sweeping, fifth consecutive victory in state-wide elections.

The victory could help the state’s controversial leader, Nerendra Modi, emerge as a prime ministerial candidate, despite accusations that he failed to control deadly Hindu-Muslim riots a decade ago.  

Gujarat has been a stronghold of the opposition of the Bharatiya Janata Party for a long time. But the latest convincing victory in state-wide elections is credited to  Modi, who has governed the state since 2001. Prakash Javedkar is a spokesperson for the BJP.  

“It is the fifth consecutive victory which we are celebrating in Gujarat," he said. "Victory of mixture of good leadership, good governance and good organization.”

Modi’s victory was widely expected in a state that has become an economic powerhouse under his watch. He is credited with rooting out corruption, building infrastructure and creating a business-friendly environment. That is in stark contrast to many others parts of the country, where graft and lack of governance have set back the economy.

However, Modi remains one of the country’s most controversial leaders, because he is blamed for not doing enough to control riots in 2002 that killed more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims. His critics accuse him of being anti-Muslim and fear he is a divisive leader in a secular country. Modi denies the accusation.  

Several Western countries have treated him as a pariah. The United States has denied him a visa for his alleged role in the 2002 riots.

But, as Modi grows in prominence, and as his state emerges as a magnet for international investors, some are reversing their stand.  For example, Britain recently ended a 10-year boycott of the controversial leader.  

Some political analysts say Modi’s victory will catapult him to the national stage, where he could emerge as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate in national elections in 2014. They say he is admired for spurring development in Gujarat and is seen as a strong leader in a country where the ruling Congress Party has been widely criticized for weak leadership.  

Political analyst Tavleen Singh told local media the country is looking for a leader like Modi.  

“We need somebody who is going to say, 'Listen, what this country needs desperately is development' and Modi has shown that in his Gujarat model, that works,” Singh said.

Although the ruling Congress Party was disappointed in Gujarat, it is set to win a smaller state, Himachal Pradesh, in the north. State elections are being keenly tracked in India because of their likely impact on the next national elections.

You May Like

Syrian Rebels Poised for Anti-Russia Collaboration

Forty-one insurgent groups issue joint statement vowing retaliation for Russian air offensives More

Political Maneuver Revives Export-Import Bank's Chances

Parliamentary tactic gets bill out of committee, but it faces opposition in the Senate More

Beijing Warns US on S. China Sea Patrols

Warning follows news reports Thursday that US military is planning to sail warships close to artificial islands Beijing has been aggressively building More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
by: john2379 from: USA
December 20, 2012 2:49 PM
N. Modi is the hero of Gujarat but if he will leave Gujarat and take BJP leadership in Delhi, he will be doomed in political game within a year or two. Why? Because he has no experience of working with several regional and tribal and racial parties on central level. (ii) He has ruled Gujarat as an authoritarian leader with almost 2/3 majority and even not allowing his own ministers to carry out their work. He has not considered opposition party has any voice or initiated any discussion with them for any matter. (iii) He has very short temper and no tolerance, which will make him unacceptable in many quarters of BJP

(iv) He likes to have yes men around him and like bragging beyond his reach (v) He has proved beyond doubts by his rule and conduct during the riots and selection of all right wing Hindu candidates and ministers for the last 11 years; depicted his image as the anti-Muslim leader neglecting 10% major Muslim minority of India and making them meaningless, which will make him almost impossible as a national leader. (vi) He failed to reduce gap between the poor and rich in Gujarat and favored large industrialist houses allotting hundreds of acres farm and government land almost free. Really, Congress would like him to be next PM and fail soon in his own game.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdrawsi
Jim Malone
October 09, 2015 12:32 AM
The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video Hungary Criticized for Handling of Refugees

Amnesty International has accused Hungary of breaking multiple international and European human rights laws in its handling of the refugee crisis. As Henry Ridgwell reports, thousands of migrants and refugees continue to travel through the Balkans to Hungary every day.

Video Iraqi-Kurdish Teachers Vow to Continue Protest

Sixteen people were injured when police used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse teachers and other public employees who took to the streets in Iraq’s Kurdish north, demanding their salaries from the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). VOA’s Dilshad Anwar, in Sulaimaniya, caught up with protesting teachers who say they have not been paid for three months. Parke Brewer narrates his report.

Video Syrian Village Community Faces Double Displacement in Lebanon

Driven by war from their village in southwestern Syria, a group of families found shelter in Lebanon, resettling en masse in a half-built university to form one of the biggest settlements of its kind in Lebanon. Three years later, however, they now face being kicked out and dispersed in a country where finding shelter as a refugee can be especially tough. John Owens has more for VOA from the city of Saida, also known as Sidon.

Video Bat Colony: Unusual Tourist Attraction in Texas

The action hero Batman might be everyone’s favorite but real bats hardly get that kind of adoration. Put more than a million of these creatures of the night together and it only evokes images of horror. Sarah Zaman visited the largest urban bat colony in North America to see just how well bat and human get along with each other.

Video Device Shows Promise of Stopping Motion Sickness

It’s a sickening feeling — the dizziness, nausea and vomiting that comes with motion sickness. But a device now being developed could stop motion sickness by suppressing certain signals in the brain. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Making a Mint

While apples, corn, and cranberries top the list of fall produce in the US, it’s also the time to harvest gum, candy, and toothpaste—or at least the oil that makes them minty fresh. Erika Celeste reports from South Bend, Indiana on the mint harvest.

Video Activists Decry Lagos Slum Demolition

Acting on a court order, authorities in Nigeria demolished a slum last month in the commercial capital, Lagos. But human rights activists say the order was illegal, and the community was razed to make way for a government housing project. Chris Stein has more from Lagos.

Video TPP Agreed, But Faces Stiff Opposition

President Barack Obama promoted the Trans-Pacific Partnership on Tuesday, one day after 12 Pacific Rim nations reached the free trade deal in Atlanta. The controversial pact that would involve about 40 percent of global trade still needs approval by lawmakers in respective countries. Zlatica Hoke reports Obama is facing strong opposition to the deal, including from members of his own party.

Video Ukranian Artist Portrays Putin in an Unusual Way

As Russian President Vladimir Putin was addressing the United Nations in New York last month, he was also being featured in an art exhibition in Washington. It’s not a flattering exhibit. It’s done by a Ukrainian artist in a unique medium. And its creator says it’s not only a work of art - it’s a political statement. VOA’s Tetiana Kharchenko has more.

VOA Blogs