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Timeline: The rise of Narendra Modi
July 11, 2013 / 4:38 PM / in 4 years

Timeline: The rise of Narendra Modi

REUTERS - Here is a look at the rise of Narendra Modi and his political career.

Gujarat's Chief Minister Narendra Modi speaks during the 29th annual session of Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) Ladies Organisation in New Delhi April 8, 2013. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi/Files

September 17, 1950

Narendra Damodardas Modi is born in the ancient city of Vadnagar in present-day Gujarat into a Hindu family. As a youth, he worked in his family’s tea stall, according to a biography.


Modi joins the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) as the fledgling party taps into the growth of Hindu nationalism across India. The BJP wins a majority in Gujarat in 1995 and Modi quickly rises up the ranks.


Modi gets his big break when Keshubhai Patel steps down as Gujarat chief minister in the wake of the January earthquake that killed thousands of people. Modi is selected as Patel’s replacement and has remained in power ever since, becoming Gujarat’s longest-serving chief minister.

February 27, 2002

Riots break out after 59 passengers, mostly Hindu pilgrims, die in a train fire in the town of Godhra in Gujarat. At least 1,000 people, mainly Muslims, are killed. Modi, as chief minister, is accused by critics of not doing enough to stem the riots and even quietly encouraging them -- allegations he has strongly denied and which have never been proved. In 2012, one of Modi’s former ministers, Maya Kodnani, is sentenced to 28 years in prison alongside 30 others for their role in the riots.


Washington denies Modi a travel visa for religious intolerance, causing uproar in India.

October 2008

Modi persuades Tata Motors to move its factory to build its low-cost Nano car to Gujarat from West Bengal after protests from farmers over land compensation, a sign of his business-friendly approach to politics.

February 2012

A Special Investigation Team (SIT), which has been appointed by India’s Supreme Court, says investigators found no evidence against Modi in a 2002 riots case.

August 31, 2012

Modi addresses a number of topics during an online web cam chat which draws questions from around India and across the world. A media-savvy politician, Modi is an avid Twitter user with more than 1.86 million followers (as on July 11, 2013).

October 22, 2012

British High Commissioner James Bevan sits down with Modi to discuss business and investment in a landmark meeting that ends the UK’s 10-year diplomatic boycott after three British citizens were killed in the 2002 riots.

December 20, 2012

Narendra Modi wins a third successive term as chief minister of Gujarat, with the BJP getting 115 of the state assembly’s 182 seats against 61 for the Congress. The BJP also won four assembly seats in by-elections held in 2013.

January 7, 2013

European Union ambassadors have lunch with Modi at the German ambassador’s residence in New Delhi, ending a decade-old informal boycott of the political leader.

June 9, 2013

Modi is chosen to head the BJP’s campaign in general elections due in 2014, a position that could make him the party’s candidate for prime minister. A day later, rival leader Lal Krishna Advani resigns from BJP posts, exposing deep rifts in the party. Advani backtracks later that week.

June 16, 2013

Nitish Kumar, head of the Janata Dal (United), pulls out of a 17-year-old alliance with the BJP after the party’s decision to anoint Modi as its standard-bearer for the general elections.

Compiled by Reuters India Online; Edited by Tony Tharakan

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