Others too could make it but it would take some doing.
Narendra Modi, born 1950
Gujarat chief minister
Most likely to: Make the BJP more efficient.
Least likely to: Retire in Gujarat.
Not many think of Narendra Modi as someone they can sup with. They see him as a man of robotic competence – great with onus, poor with small talk.
He may be the only rightwing politician to have razed illegal temples, scores of them. All other seniors, put together, haven’t touched any.
He is the only one in BJP memory to best the RSS and the VHP in a turf fight. Atal Behari Vajpayee chose disdain as his weapon. He could. He had the charisma.
Modi has to battle it out. He did. After 10 years, the RSS and the VHP matter as much as the Congress in Gujarat.
It would seem that Modi knows no fear. This enables him to take risks. It’s just that he doesn’t see it as risk.
Therefore, the response to the Godhra killings. Murder triggered more murder. Mayhem produced more mayhem. In the end, it evened out for Modi.
In Picture: Narendra Modi removes his pagri (ceremonial headgear), at a meeting of victorious BJP candidates in Gandhinagar, in 2002.
Image: AFP. Any unauthorised reproduction is prohibited