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Narendra Modi

Narendra Damodardas Modi is the 14th and incumbent prime minister of India and a leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Born in Gujarat's Vadnagar in 1950, Modi is said to have spent his early childhood working in his family tea stall and also selling tea at railway platforms. While Modi was introduced to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) at the age of 8, he joined BJP in the year 1987. His party won a majority in Gujarat in 1995 and Modi quickly rose up the ranks. His humble origins captured the minds of Indians who felt they could connect with him.
 
Narendra Modi had his first brush with a government in 2001, when the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Keshubhai Patel stepped down as Gujarat chief minister in the wake of the Bhuj earthquake that killed thousands of people. Modi was selected as Patel’s replacement and remained in power in the state until May 22, till 2014. As the state’s chief minister, he was credited with leading development activities in Gujarat. However, a low point for the state government came in 2002, when critics accused it of not doing enough to stem the 2002 riots that killed at least 1,000 people. In 2013, Modi was chosen as the BJP's prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Under his leadership, the party won the 2014 elections with a thumping majority, on the back of a so-called ‘Modi wave’ and capitalising on the popular discontent against the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, which had been mired in controversies following several scams and charges of impropriety against some of its leaders.
 
Modi had contested the 2014 polls from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and Vadodara in Gujarat. He won both these Lok Sabha constituencies and was appointed the prime minister on May 26, 2014. Since an MP cannot represent more than one constituency according to the law, he vacated the Vadodara seat.
 
Known to be a tech-savvy politician, Modi is an avid Twitter user. On Twitter, Modi is the third most followed person globally and the most followed world leader on both Facebook and Instagram.
 
In October 2018, Modi received the UN's Champion of the Earth' award for cooperation on environmental action. He received the 2018 Seoul Peace Prize and in 2019, and Modi was also conferred the first Philip Kotler Presidential Award.
 
In the last five years of the Modi government at the Centre, the BJP has undergone a massive transformation and is India's most formidable political force today. According to the BJP narrative, Lok Sabha elections 2019 is all about 'Modi vs others'.
 
The Congress, its allies and other parties in the Opposition are putting credible challenge to Modi, who still remains the BJP's star vote-catcher. The Lok Sabha polls will decide whether Modi's popularity has waned or the 'wave' has turned into a tornado.

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