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Tuesday 2 September 2014

From international pariah to poll winner, the heart-throb who's a mummy's boy

Josie Ensor

Published 17/05/2014 | 02:30

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Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi, the prime ministerial candidate for India's main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), gestures as he receives a garland from his supporters during a public meeting in Vadodara, in the western Indian state of Gujarat, May 16, 2014. Modi said on Friday that he would work for the good of all Indians after his opposition party's resounding general election victory. REUTERS/Amit Dave (INDIA - Tags: ELECTIONS POLITICS)
Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi

1 Gujarat riots: The questions about which Modi has been the most evasive are related to his role in the Gujarat's Hindu-Muslim riots of 2002. Up to 1,000 people, mostly Muslim, were killed in three months of religious violence. Modi was chief minister of Gujarat at the time and was been accused of initiating and condoning the violence.

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Following the riots, Modi became an international pariah. In 2012, however, he was cleared by the Supreme Court of India.

2 Hologram leader: He is the first Indian leader to appear in more than one place at the same time. On his campaign trail he solved the problem of how to reach the world's largest electorate – to address rallies simultaneously as a hologram. It is believed to be the first time hologram technology has been used in an election campaign.

3 Secret wife: Modi had always kept quiet when questioned on the topic of his marriage. After remaining silent in the previous four campaigns, last month he acknowledged retired teacher Jashodaben Chimanlal as his wife. He had a child marriage with Jashodaben at 13 according to the tradition of his family.

4 Bullet train: He promised in his election campaign to build an ambitious new bullet train network to modernise its ageing railways.

5 Heart-throb: He has a strong female following, which has helped him become the second most followed Indian politician on Twitter after Shashi Tharoor, the Minister of State for Human Resource Development.

6 Mummy's boy: It is thought 63-year-old Modi's mother (90) is the first to see her son become the prime minister of India in her lifetime.

7 Chaiwala: Son of a low-caste "chaiwala", or tea seller, Modi is said to play on his status to appeal to a group that accounts for more than half of the electorate. He is a Modh Ganchi, a tiny oil trading sub-caste of the higher caste Vaishya merchants, but according to Congress Party researchers his group was officially redesignated as one of India's 'Other Backward Castes'. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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