Narendra Modi turns 70: A look at his journey from tea-seller to Prime Minister

Updated: 17 September, 2020 09:34 IST | Sunny Rodricks
  • Narendra Modi

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi was born in Vadnagar, Gujarat, on September 17, 1950, to Hiraben Modi and Damodardas Mulchand Modi. As a child, PM Modi helped his father sell tea and later went on to set up his own tea stall.

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    At the age of 8, Narendra Modi was introduced to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), and ever since then, he became an active member of the organisation. In 1971, Modi became a full-time worker of the RSS. Later, the Sangh assigned him to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in 1985, where he held numerous positions within the party until 2001.

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    In 2001, when the then Chief Minister of Gujarat, Keshubhai Patel, resigned from his post due to ill health, Narendra Modi was appointed as the Chief Minister of Gujarat. He was administered the oath of office on October 7, 2001.

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  • Narendra Modi

    After serving as the Chief Minister of Gujarat from 2001 to 2014, Narendra Modi was named as BJP's candidate for Prime Minister ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. Post-BJP's thumping victory, Narendra Modi was sworn in as the 14th Prime Minister of India at the Rashtrapati Bhavan on May 26, 2014.

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    In the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, Narendra Modi stood as a candidate for the Lok Sabha from two constituencies - Varanasi and Vadodara, and he won from both the constituencies.

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    In picture: PM Narendra Modi snapped while doing an aerial survey of a flood-hit area.

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    Besides being one of the most popular Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi has also been declared a fashion-icon for his signature half-sleeved, crisply ironed kurta. He is also well-known for a suit that has his name embroidered in the pinstripes that he wore during a state visit by Barack Obama, former US President.

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    In October 2014, PM Narendra Modi started a radio programme called "Mann Ki Baat". He also launched the Digital India programme to ensure that government services are available electronically, thereby boosting the manufacturing of electronic goods in the country and building infrastructure to provide high-speed Internet access to rural areas and promoting digital literacy.

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    On November 9, 2016, the Narendra Modi-led government demonetised Rs 500 and Rs 1000 currency notes, with the intention of curbing black money, corruption, the use of counterfeit currency and terrorism.

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    Narendra Modi's clarion call for marking 'International Day of Yoga' received an overwhelming response at the United Nations. In a first, a total of 177 nations across the world came together and passed the resolution to declare June 21 as the 'International Day of Yoga', at the UN.

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    In 2018, Narendra Modi received the 'Champions of the Earth' award, UN's highest environmental award, for policy leadership by pioneering work in championing 'new areas of levels of cooperation on environmental action' and the International Solar Alliance.

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    In the same year, Modi was conferred with the Seoul Peace Prize 2018 in recognition of his dedication to improving raising global economic growth, international cooperation, accelerating the Human Development of the people of India by fostering economic growth through social integration efforts and anti-corruption making him the first Indian to win the award. He received the first Philip Kotler Presidential Award in 2019.

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    Did you know a wax statue of PM Narendra Modi was unveiled at Madame Tussaud Wax Museum in London in 2016? In 2017, the Gallup International Association (GIA) conducted a poll where PM Modi was ranked as the third top leader of the world.

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    In April 2016, PM Narendra Modi joined the Nuclear Security Summit where he put forth a strong message on the importance of Nuclear Security at the world stage. He visited Saudi Arabia, where he was conferred the highest civilian honour of Saudi Arabia, Sash of King Abdulaziz.

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    Narendra Modi's powerful 'personal connect' with the people on the ground is complemented by a strong online presence. He is known to be one of India's most tech-savvy leader, using the web to reach people and bring about change in their lives.

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    Narendra Modi shared this rare picture on Instagram featuring Portugal PM Antonio Costa. While sharing the picture, Modi wrote, "I thank Portugal PM Antonio Costa for this gift, the Portugal football team's jersey autographed by Cristiano Ronaldo. Sport is an area that holds great promise as far as India-Portugal ties are concerned."

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    Beyond politics, Narendra Modi enjoys writing. He has authored several books, including poetry. He begins his day with yoga, which centers his body and mind and instills the power of calmness in his otherwise fast-paced routine.

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    After getting elected for a second term in office in 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led government in a historic move abolished Article 370 and Article 35A from Jammu and Kashmir that gave special status to the state and bifurcated the state into two Union Territories - Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

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    After the 2019 general elections, PM Modi was established as the most popular leader in decades. BJP not only surpassed its 2014 performance but also crossed the 300-seat mark in the 543-member Lok Sabha.

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    In August 2019, a special edition of Discovery Channel's popular show 'Man vs Wild' featured Prime Minister Narendra Modi with adventurer Bear Grylls. The high-profile episode not only lived up to its billing but also emerged as one of the top TV shows of the year. According to Discovery Channel, the 'Man vs Wild' featuring PM Modi created history by garnering the highest slot viewership with 3.69 million impressions.

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    In August 2020, PM Narendra Modi created yet another milestone when he became the longest-serving non-Congress Prime Minister of India. PM Modi surpassed veteran BJP leader and former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, who served as PM for 2,268 days, with all his terms combined. Besides, he has also become the 4th longest-serving Prime Minister in the history of India along with Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Manmohan Singh.

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    In August 2012, Narendra Modi achieved a unique feat when he became the first Indian politician to interact with netizens via live video chat. A recent survey by IANS-CVoter said that 72 per cent of people said they trust PM Modi on matters of national security while an equal number of people lauded the Modi government in handling the COVID-19 crisis.

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    According to the 2020 edition of Twiplomacy rankings released by global communications agency BCW (Burson Cohn & Wolfe), Narendra Modi is the second most followed leader on Twitter. With over 57.9 million followers, Modi raced ahead of Pope Francis who had 51 million followers collectively on his nine different language accounts in July 2020.

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    During the COVID-19 outbreak, Narendra Modi changed his display picture with a towel wrapped around his face. He did this to communicate the message about the importance of using face masks during the global pandemic.

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    In picture: PM Narendra Modi shares a warm hug with US President Donald Trump on the latter's official visit to India.

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    In picture: PM Narendra Modi gets playful with a child in the Parliament.

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    In picture: Narendra Modi shares a hearty laugh with Sooronbay Jeenbekov, President of Kyrgyzstan.

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About The Gallery

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's journey from being the Chief Minister of Gujarat to become the leader of the world's largest democracy is truly incredible. From selling tea to joining RSS, from fighting elections to becoming the most followed leader on Twitter, PM Modi has truly emerged as a world leader. As PM Narendra Modi turns a year older today, we trace his journey in pictures.

(All photos/Narendra Modi, Instagram and Twitter)

First Published: 24 May, 2019 08:29 IST