Hindu nationalist Modi crowned as India’s opposition prime minister candidate
Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi was crowned as the candidate for prime minister of India’s main opposition party on Friday, cementing the remarkable rise of a leader adored by business but tainted by deadly religious riots that broke out on his watch.
On a path that from humble roots as the son of a tea-shop owner to running for leadership of the world’s biggest democracy, Modi has methodically built a fervent fan base.
But, a deeply polarizing figure, he has made many enemies along the way, even within his Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Supporters believe he has the drive needed to salvage a sagging economy and make India a regional superpower. Detractors see an authoritarian extremist who could fan sectarian tension in the religiously diverse nation.
India is due to hold its largest-ever general election within eight months. Modi’s elevation means the poll will pit the business-friendly chief minister of Gujarat state against the centre-left Congress party, which critics say looks jaded after a decade at the head of a fractious ruling coalition.
Modi’s success at chaperoning Gujarat’s economic growth was for years overshadowed by religious riots just months after he took office in 2002. At least 1,000 people died in the violence, most of them Muslims at the hands of Hindu mobs.