New Delhi: Narendra Modi, the 14th Prime Minister of India, is celebrating his 66th birthday today.
India TV takes a look at the journey of Narendra Modi who once used to run a tea stall and now he has taken over as India Prime Minister.
Modi was born in an OBC family of grocers in Vadnagar of Gujarat on born 17 September, 1950. Modi wanted to become a sanyasi when he was a child. In fact, he was always fascinated with Sadhus, different forms of worship and meditation.
He ran away from home after completing his school education. He visited many places including Ramkrishna Ashram of Belur in West Bengal. Finally, he reached Himalayas and wandered aimlessly and stayed with unknown but yogic Sadhus for months.
After two years of wandering in Himalayas without money and with two pairs of clothes, he suddenly decided to give up ‘Sanyas' life and returned home.
After returning from Himalayas, Modi ran a tea stall with his brother at the State Transport Office in Ahmedabad. Modi sold tea for many years. That was the time when Modi learnt what hardship really meant. It made him more determined and resolute in his approach towards life.
After sometime, Modi joined RSS and became a full time pracharak. Very soon, he was given charge of ‘Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad' in Gujarat and for Modi, there was no looking back from here. Modi made a mark for himself as an able organizer and efficient administrator. Later on, he joined the Gujarat unit of Jan Sangh.
It was in the year 1987 that the RSS deputed Modi to BJP. Modi played a crucial role in BJP's victory in Gujarat assembly elections in 1995. The party's public face consisted of Shankarsingh Vaghela and Keshubhai Patel but it was Modi who micro managed the entire election. His role was that of a master strategist and he did full justice to his role.
After the victory in 1995 assembly elections, BJP made Keshubhai Patel the CM of Gujarat. Since Modi had worked at grass root level, he started taking keen interest in state's administration on behalf of party workers. Keshubhai considered it as interference and got Modi shifted to Delhi as General Secretary of the party.
Meanwhile, Shankar Singh Vaghela, who was a CM aspirant before 1995 elections, deserted the BJP after he lost the 1996 Lok Sabha elections.
By 2001, Keshubhai Patel started losing the grip on the administration and the party MLAs due to several factors, failing health being one of the important reasons.
The party lost by-elections and some of the MLAs revolted against Keshubhai. It was at this time that the central leadership thought it was time for a change in leadership.
The mantle fell on Modi but Advani was not very sure of his administrative capabilities. Therefore, it is said that he wanted to make Modi a ‘Deputy CM' first but Modi stoutly refused that position. He reportedly said either he gets all or nothing.
Under these circumstances, Narendra Modi was made the Chief Minister of Gujarat on October 7, 2001.
Modi never looked back since then. He won the hearts and minds of the people of Gujarat and won three consecutive assembly elections for the party in 2002, 2007 and 2012.
Narendra Modi became the longest serving Chief Minister of Gujarat on on 18 September 2012when he completed 4000 days in power.
The biggest mystery of Narendra Modi's life is his relationship status. The world knows him as a ‘bachelor' but it has been contested by some of his critics who point out that he was once married to ‘Jashodaben'.
A magazine published a story in 2009 that claimed Jashodaben to be Modi's wife. The fact that Modi never contested the facts of the story gives credence to the content of the article. The woman in question is a school teacher and lives in Rajosana village of Banaskantha district. She is said to be married when she was 18. She had studied up to class VIII only and that is supposed to have spoiled their relationship.
It is said that Jashodaben does not like to be photographed as she believes she is not good looking. Not only this, she is conscious of Modi's high position and does not want to create any embarrassment to Modi although she is hopeful that someday Modi will come to her and publicly accept her as his wife.
According to another popular story about Modi's marriage, he got married during his childhood. It was a child marriage and Modi never met his wife again as the ‘second marriage (Gauna)' never happened because Modi got attracted to RSS by that time and decided to remain bachelor for the rest of his life. It is said that his wife also took the vow of remaining single for the rest of her life.
The veracity of all these stories are yet to be fully ascertained as Narendra Modi has never tried to present his side of story on this matter.