News / Asia

India’s Senior Party Member to Lead Poll Campaign

Chief Minister of India’s western state of Gujarat Narendra Modi, right, stands with Bihar state Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi, June 9, 2013.
Chief Minister of India’s western state of Gujarat Narendra Modi, right, stands with Bihar state Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi, June 9, 2013.
Anjana Pasricha
India’s main opposition party has chosen one of the country’s most controversial politicians, Narendra Modi, to lead it in national elections next year. This boosts his chances of becoming prime minister, if the party wins. But the choice of the Hindu nationalist leader has exposed deep rifts within his party.

Speaking to party members after his election as head of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) poll campaign committee, Narendra Modi vowed to defeat the ruling Congress Party, which has headed a coalition government since 2004.

Modi said the party's aim should be to free India of Congress Party rule. He said, if this can happen all problems will be solved.   

India is to hold elections by next spring. And, as the race between the country’s two main parties - the Hindu nationalist BJP and the Congress Party starts taking shape - Modi has become one of India’s most closely-watched politicians.

Modi rules the western Gujarat state. His appointment Sunday to the national campaign committee has put the regional leader within reach of the prime minister’s job, if he can secure a victory for his party.

But that has exposed deep rifts within the BJP.  A day after Modi was elected, a top BJP leader, Lal Krishna Advani, quit several key party posts, raising fears of turmoil within the party.

Independent political analyst Ajoy Bose in New Delhi said, although Modi is seen as a man who will revitalize the party, many top leaders fear being sidelined.   

“They expect him to energize the party and carry it forward and give it a new direction. The party has been flagging a bit over the past several years.  But, on the other hand, the senior leadership are a little uneasy because Modi is the kind of domineering leader who has very little time for other senior leaders," Bose said. "Modi would definitely take BJP toward a personality-oriented party.”    

Modi has received praise for expediting development in his Gujarat state and turning it into an economic powerhouse.

However, his rule has been blotted by his failure to stop deadly anti-Muslim riots that killed more than 1,000 people in 2002. This has raised concerns that Modi may find it difficult to win the support of voters and regional parties in key political states such as Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, where Muslims make up a sizeable part of the population.

In the past year, the fiery Hindu nationalist leader has tried to project the image of a no-nonsense man who can deliver good governance and rescue India’s faltering economy.

Recent polls indicate Modi’s strongest supporters are India’s urban, middle classes, who are looking for an alternative to the scandal-ridden Congress Party and calling for cleaner governance. But political analyst Bose said this message may not resonate in the heartland of India.

“He has tried, in the recent past, to plug the development mantra and showcase the kind of high growth rates in Gujarat. But the BJP is consistently non-existent in many parts of India. So Modi maybe doing a great job among the social media audience across India, but the electorate is a much bigger constituency. And, these are areas where Modi does not really strike anywhere,” stated Bose.

However, as Modi becomes the front runner in the BJP, worries are rising in the Congress party, whose image has been badly tarnished by a series of corruption scandals during its second term in office. It has also received flak for a policy paralysis that has led India’s economy to slump to its slowest in a decade.

Political analysts said support for the Congress party is slipping, but it remains to be seen if Modi can convert public disillusionment with the ruling party into gains for his party.

You May Like

For Lebanon-based Refugees, Desperation Fuels Perilous Passage

In a war that has caused an estimated three million people to flee Syria, efforts to make perilous sea journey in search of asylum expected to increase More

South African Brewer Tackles Climate Change

Mega-brewer SAB Miller sent delegates to climate summit in Peru, says it is one of many private companies taking their own steps to fight climate change More

Indonesia Reports Increase in Citizens Joining Islamic State

Officials say more than 350 of its citizens are now in Syria or Iraq to fight with Islamic State - 50 more than last month More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Mehtasaab from: Washington, DC
June 10, 2013 3:29 PM

I have been requested to White house to reconsider Mr. Narendra Modi. He will be a next Prime Minister of India. Europe did reconsidered his status. UK/France and Germany is trying to establish relation with Mr. Modi. Also they granted VISA.

Mr. Modi is not only a politician, but also a business man. He put state of Gujarat on a high growth state. If US does not want to miss a boat, reconsider his status. He is not a terrorist. Rulling Congress party created all this drama to defeat him.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?i
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
December 17, 2014 11:54 AM
The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
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.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US-China Year in Review: Hong Kong to Climate Change

The United States is pushing for a code of conduct to resolve territorial disputes in the South China Sea as it works to improve commercial ties with Beijing. VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports on a year of U.S. policy toward China from Hong Kong to climate change.
Video

Video Japanese Leader’s Election Win Raises Potential for Conflict with Neighbors

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and his allies easily won a two-thirds majority in parliament Sunday, even though the country has slipped into recession under his conservative policies. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from Seoul, that the prime minister’s victory will empower him to continue economic reforms but also pursue a nationalist agenda that will likely increase tensions with Japan’s neighbors.
Video

Video Nuba Mountain Families Hide in Caves to Escape Aerial Bombings

Despite ongoing peace talks between Sudan's government and the rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North, or SPLM-N, daily aerial attacks continue in South Kordofan province’s Nuba Mountains. Adam Bailes was there and reports for VOA that government forces are targeting civilian areas, rather than military positions, with their daily bombardments.

All About America

AppleAndroid