The National

Will Gujarat’s leader help India focus on economic gains?

Nikita Malik on The National. The National is a government-owned English-language daily newspaper published in Abu Dhabi.

December 19, 2013 Updated: December 19, 2013 18:59:00

Ask most Indians about Narendra Modi and you will get a clear response. There will be those, of course, who can’t stand the man, but in his home state of Gujarat the answer you will most likely receive is: “He has helped us. There are fewer problems with him around.”

These assertions are supported by their votes. Mr Modi is the longest-serving chief minister in Gujarat’s history. His popularity is due, very largely, to his economic policies. Under his control, Gujarat has seen industrial and agricultural growth, a more efficient bureaucracy and even reduced corruption. Now, Mr Modi is making his pitch as the prime ministerial candidate for the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (the BJP) in next year’s Indian general elections.

There is a different picture that can be painted, though. Many argue that he simply did not do enough to prevent the communal riots in his state in 2002, when hundreds of Muslims were killed over several days of extreme sectarian violence.

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