When Modi took over as chief minister on October 7, 2001, replacing former BJP veteran Keshubhai Patel, he had not fought any elections and was a lesser known figure outside party circles where he had held important positions like being the national general secretary of the party, besides playing a key role in his mentor L K Advani's Rathyatra from Somnath to Ayodhya in early 1990s.
It is an historic feat for Modi as he becomes the longest serving chief minister of Gujarat state. And, not only that he would be first serving chief minister to be nominated as prime ministerial candidate of India's largest opposition party the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Before Modi took the reins in his hands, Gujarat was once known as the state of drought and natural calamities. "However, the image has transformed to a state synonymous with development. And, the credit goes to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. The development of the state has become a talking point not only within India but across the world. Gujarat had never earned such a reputation and popularity before as it has during the last twelve years," reads a detailed officials statement issued by the state government enumerating the achievements of Narendra Modi government.
"Gujarat's image has become that of a growth engine of the country. The state has clocked a growth rate of 13 per cent in industrial and 10.7 per cent in agriculture sectors apart from contributing 22 per cent to India's overall exports," claims the statement.
Modi's 12-year has been marked by political controversies during which he came under severe criticism for his government's handling of 2002 post-Godhra riots just five months after he took over the reins of Gujarat. The very vocal leader had tried to live down that image by sustained economic development through business-savvy, investor-friendly policies. He also stressed on peace, harmony and security brush aside the criticism from his detractors after the 2002 riots.
Modi has always denied the charge that his government was unsuccessful in handling the communal riots. In fact he has always stood by his decisions of that time.
With his policies of holistic development and principles of inclusive growth Modi, in the last 12 yeas has compelled countries like the US and UK to end their decade-long boycott which were from 2002 riots in Gujarat in which least 1,000 people, most of them from minority community were killed. Last year UK ended its decade-long boycott and began re-engaging with Modi government. This was followed by the US and later by the European union.
Since 2002 Modi has repositioned himself as a business-savvy, investor-friendly administrator, who has brought in big-wigs of the industry to invest in the state of Gujarat. Modi, using his political acumen, oratory skills, focus on development, tight control over bureaucracy and image of a politician free from corruption, has been able to turn adversities into advantages successfully leading his party to victory in successive elections at all levels in the state.
As a tech-savvy politician Modi has been effectively using the social media to garner support from the youth in the country. This has been coupled with number of interaction with students in their campuses. Modi believes as more than 50 per cent of voters are youth they would be key during the 2014 elections where he would be contesting as prime ministerial candidate of BJP. During the 12-year rule Modi administration also faced a series of major controversies for fake police encounters. Three such cases are being investigated by the CBI in which his close aide and former minister of state for home Amit Shah and several IPS officers are accused.