In India, Modi Is a Popular, Polarizing Figure in Politics
Narendra Modi, chief minister of the Indian state of Gujarat, is running for a fourth term in elections that wrap up this week. Results are expected Thursday. He’s hailed for his efforts to revive the economy in western India but also criticized for violence that occurred during his watch several years ago.
“He’s given us water, roads, everything,” said a Gujarat resident, J.P. Makwana, through a translator in a report airing soon on the NewsHour (featured above). “That is why people love him. He does what he says.”
But he also has his skeptics. Another resident Mohammed Sheikh said the city’s progress is limited to the Hindu areas. “We get no aid from the Modi government,” he said. “Does it look like we live well here?”
India, a Hindu-majority country, has the world’s largest Muslim minority at 177 million people.
In early 2002, tensions between the two groups in Gujarat came to a head. The burning of 58 Hindu pilgrims on a train unleashed a series of retaliatory attacks on Muslims, and many Muslims displaced by the violence still live in temporary housing in the city’s ghettos.
Modi, who has served as chief minister of Gujarat since October 2001, never apologized to the Muslim community for the assaults and some say isn’t doing enough to help the riot victims.
In 2005, he was denied a visa to enter the United States due to religious freedom concerns.