Al Jazeera goes behind the scenes on Narendra Modi’s campaign

MUMBAI: As part of its election programming, Al Jazeera English takes the viewers on a campaign trail with Gujarat State Chief Minister Narender Modi in his bid to become India’s next prime minister.

A special from 101 East, ‘Modi the Messiah?’ premieres on Friday, April 25 and will examine the anticipation around Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi. Reporter Karishma Vyas gathers views from leaders from BJP, political scientist and industrialists in Gujarat where Modi has been in power as the state’s Chief Minister and residents of the state.

Prakash Javadekar, Member of Parliament Rajya Sabha and a leader of Bharatiya Janata Party sharing his views about Modi with Al Jazeera: “This time people are voting for aspiration, for progress. This is a radical change which is happening in the parliament election. This election is all about development, development, development. Inflation, unemployment, stagnation, all has caused great pains for common people and corruption. There is a feeling in the people that they have been looted left, right and center. Modi is the man of integrity, man of honesty, incorruptible record and performance. People want delivery; he is the man of delivery”.

Kalpesh A Patel, Executive Director, Nirma said, “We have already been serving the benefits of Mr. Modi as a head of the state, and I think the entire nation is looking to him to shoulder the responsibility so why only should Gujarat benefit? The entire country should benefit and the entire country should prosper and see the change and the improvement in the process.”

Zoya Hasan, a political scientist and a former member of the National Commission for Minorities says, “This is a highly competitive election as never before. There’s a Hindu undercurrent running through the Modi campaign even though it is not upfront and upfront is talk of development. It’s been a procession of support from the corporate sector because they see Modi as business friendly, as someone who is prepared to do what it takes to promote economic growth unhindered. Modi is an extremely autocratic, authoritarian leader who is being presented in this campaign as the decisive leader that India needs.”

However, a shadow hangs over his candidature, as Chief Minister in Gujarat state the self-proclaimed Hindu nationalist presided over one of the worst massacres of Muslims in the Indian history. In February 2002, four months after Modi became the state’s chief minister - deadly communal clashes engulfed the streets of Gujarat. Though, Modi has denied culpability in these riots, and a Supreme Court ordered investigation has concluded that there isn’t enough evidence to charge him with any crime.

One of the riot victims said, “We lost our family, we lost our neighbours, we lost the people that were in our lives every day. I pray to God for them. I sit here and remember them. It feels like they’re still with me and I’m sitting with them.”

101 East is a weekly television programme, broadcast by Al Jazeera English that focuses on current affairs in Asia and the Pacific.

Tune into Al Jazeera on Dish TV 618 and Tata Sky Channel 518 on April 25 at 1500 IST to catch the premiere of 101 East Modi the Messiah? episode

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