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Narendra Modi, the newsmaker in 2013

Tuesday, 24 December 2013 - 11:24am IST | Agency: PTI

Making smart moves and with the backing of RSS and party chief Rajnath Singh, he managed to overcome his opponents within BJP.

After emerging as NDA's prime ministerial nominee, Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi embarked on a spirited campaign for 2014 Lok Sabha elections creating political enthusiasm in this business-oriented state.

However, the shadow of the 2002 riots did not leave Modi as a protest petition was filed by Zakia Jafri, widow of Congress MP Eshan Jafri killed in that violence, against clean chit given to him by Supreme Court-appointed SIT for the riots and encounter investigations led to arrest of senior police officers.

The Modi government appointed a two-member commission after alleged snooping of a woman by state security agency came to light while the post of Lokayukta was filled after a decade, just ahead of next year's general elections.

Rape cases against controversial self-styled godman Asaram Bapu and his son Narayan Sai by two Surat-based sisters and their subsequent arrests also grabbed the headlines along with an attempt to break the Sabarmati Jail by 2008 Ahmedabad blast accused by digging a 214 feet long tunnel.

After his third consecutive victory in Gujarat in December 2012 state elections, Modi's focus was on the country's biggest job but the path seemed difficult as he had to get acceptances from his party, from the coalition --National Democratic Alliance-- and finally from the people.

Making smart moves and with the backing of RSS and party chief Rajnath Singh, he managed to overcome his opponents within BJP.

Modi was first incorporated as a member of the BJP's parliamentary board in March. He was elevated as campaign committee chief in June which led to resignation by L K Advani from all party posts and breaking away of JD(U) from NDA. Advani later withdrew the resignation.

On September 13, BJP's parliamentary board declared Modi as a prime ministerial candidate of NDA amid opposition by Advani. However, Advani later reconciled to that fact and had even time and again praised Modi.

Modi's elevation has aroused much enthusiasm about politics among the business-oriented Gujarati community who are hoping that this dream would be fulfilled.

Modi, who has been running a spirited campaign for the 2014 polls for his party to get the approval of the people, had on two occasions during the year entered into a direct confrontation with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

A verbal duel broke out at an event when Singh and he shared stage here on October 29 for a function to inaugurate a museum on India's first home minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.

Fight over legacy of Patel ensued with Modi saying that "country's destiny would have been different if he (Patel) had become the first Prime Minister" while Singh stressed that the leader was "secular" to core.

Two days later, Modi laid the foundation stone for the tallest statue in the world of Patel at Sadhu Bet in Narmada district, to take the fight of legacy of Patel to new level in the run up to the 2014 elections.

In an another face off on August 15, Modi had launched a no holds barred attack on the prime minister just few minutes after he completed his speech from the Red Fort. Modi was criticised for playing politics on the nation's independence day.

Modi had to face major embarrassment when his lecture via video-conference at Wharton University was cancelled by the university authorities there in March. However, later he addressed Indian diaspora in the US via video-conference.

Meanwhile, in a major development related to the 2002 riots case, Zakia filed her protest petition on April 15 against the apex court appointed SIT report giving clean chit to Modi and 58 others.

Zakia, while demanding the rejection of the closure report, has also sought further investigation in her complaint of 2006, not by Supreme Court appointed SIT but by an independent agency. The hearing of case is over and the court is likely to pronounce judgement on December 26.

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