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Narendra Damodardas Modi

born 17 September 1950) is an Indian politician
serving as the 14th and current Prime Minister

of India since 2014. He was the Chief Minister of Gujarat from 2001 to 2014, and is the Member of Parliament for Varanasi. Modi is a member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).

Born to a Gujarati family in Vadnagar, Modi helped his father sell tea as a child and
later ran his own stall. He was introduced to the RSS at the age of eight, beginning
a long association with the organisation.

He left home after graduating from school, partly because of an arranged marriage which
he rejected. Modi travelled around India for two years and visited a number of religious
centres. He returned to Gujarat and moved to Ahmedabad in 1969 or 1970. In 1971 he became
a full-time worker for the RSS. During the 
state of emergency imposed across the country in 1975, Modi was forced to go into hiding.

The RSS assigned him to the BJP in 1985, and he held several positions within the party
hierarchy until 2001, rising to the rank of General Secretary.

Modi was appointed Chief Minister of Gujarat

in 2001, due to Keshubhai Patel's failing
health and poor public image following the

earthquake in Bhuj. Modi was elected to the
legislative assembly soon after. His administration

has been considered complicit in the 2002
Gujarat riots, or otherwise criticised for

its handling of it, however a Supreme Court-appointed
Special Investigation Team (SIT) found no

evidence to initiate prosecution proceedings.
His policies as chief minister, credited with

encouraging economic growth, have received
praise. His administration has been criticised

for failing to significantly improve health,
poverty, and education indices in the state.Modi

led the BJP in the 2014 general election,
which gave the party a majority in the Lok

Sabha, the first time a single party had achieved
this since 1984. Modi himself was elected

to parliament from Varanasi. Since taking
office, Modi's administration has tried to

raise foreign direct investment in the Indian
economy, increased spending on infrastructure,

and reduced spending on healthcare and social
welfare programmes. Modi has attempted to

improve efficiency in the bureaucracy, and
centralised power by abolishing the planning

commission and replacing it with the NITI
Aayog. He has begun a high-profile sanitation

campaign, and weakened or abolished environmental
and labour laws. Credited with engineering

a political realignment towards right-wing
politics, Modi remains a figure of controversy

domestically and internationally over his
Hindu nationalist beliefs and his role during

the 2002 Gujarat riots, cited as evidence
of an exclusionary social agenda.

== Early life and education ==
Narendra Modi was born on 17 September 1950

to a family of grocers in Vadnagar, Mehsana
district, Bombay State (present-day Gujarat).

He was the third of six children born to Damodardas
Mulchand Modi (c.1915 – 1989) and Hiraben

Modi (born c.1920). Modi's family belonged
to the Modh-Ghanchi-Teli (oil-presser) community,

which is categorised as an Other Backward
Class by the Indian government.As a child,

Modi helped his father sell tea at the Vadnagar
railway station and later ran a tea stall

with his brother near a bus terminus. Modi
completed his higher secondary education in

Vadnagar in 1967, where a teacher described
him as an average student and a keen debater,

with interest in theatre. Modi had an early
gift for rhetoric in debates, and his teachers

and students noted this. Modi preferred playing
larger-than-life characters in theatrical

productions, which has influenced his political
image.When eight years old, Modi discovered

the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and
began attending its local shakhas (training

sessions). There, Modi met Lakshmanrao Inamdar,
popularly known as Vakil Saheb, who inducted

him as a balswayamsevak (junior cadet) for
RSS and became his political mentor. While

Modi was training with the RSS, he also met
Vasant Gajendragadkar and Nathalal Jaghda,

Bharatiya Jana Sangh leaders who were founding
members of the BJP's Gujarat unit in 1980.

Engaged while still a child to Jashodaben,
a girl from a family who lived close by, Modi

rejected the arranged marriage at the same
time he graduated from high school. The resulting

familial tensions contributed to his decision
to leave home in 1967.Modi spent the ensuing

two years travelling across Northern and North-eastern
India, though few details of where he went

have emerged. In interviews, Modi has described
visiting Hindu ashrams founded by Swami Vivekananda:

the Belur Math near Kolkata, followed by the
Advaita Ashrama in Almora and the Ramakrishna

Mission in Rajkot. Modi remained only a short
time at each, since he lacked the required

college education. Vivekananda has been described
as a large influence in Modi's life.In the

early summer of 1968, Modi reached the Belur
Math but was turned away, after which Modi

wandered through Calcutta, West Bengal and
Assam, stopping in Siliguri and Guwahati.

Modi then went to the Ramakrishna Ashram in
Almora, where he was again rejected, before

travelling back to Gujarat via Delhi and Rajasthan
in 1968–69. Sometime in late 1969 or early

1970, Modi returned to Vadnagar for a brief
visit before leaving again for Ahmedabad.

There, Modi lived with his uncle, working
in the latter's canteen at the Gujarat State

Road Transport Corporation.In Ahmedabad, Modi
renewed his acquaintance with Inamdar, who

was based at the Hedgewar Bhavan (RSS headquarters)
in the city. After the Indo-Pakistani War

of 1971, he stopped working for his uncle
and became a full-time pracharak (campaigner)

for the RSS, working under Inamdar. Shortly
before the war, Modi took part in a non-violent

protest against the Indian government in New
Delhi, for which he was arrested; this has

been cited as a reason for Inamdar electing
to mentor him. Many years later Modi would

co-author a biography of Inamdar, published
in 2001.In 1978 Modi received a Bachelor of

Arts degree in political science from School
of Open Learning at University of Delhi, graduating

with a third class. Five years later, in 1983,
he received a Master of Arts degree in political

science from Gujarat University, as an external
distance learning student.

== Early political career ==
In June 1975, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi

declared a state of emergency in India which
lasted until 1977. During this period, known

as "The Emergency", many of her political
opponents were jailed and opposition groups

were banned. Modi was appointed general secretary
of the "Gujarat Lok Sangharsh Samiti", an

RSS committee coordinating opposition to the
Emergency in Gujarat. Shortly afterwards,

the RSS was banned. Modi was forced to go
underground in Gujarat and frequently travelled

in disguise to avoid arrest. He became involved
in printing pamphlets opposing the government,

sending them to Delhi and organising demonstrations.
Modi was also involved with creating a network

of safe houses for individuals wanted by the
government, and in raising funds for political

refugees and activists. During this period,
Modi wrote a book in Gujarati, Sangharsh Ma

Gujarat (In The Struggles of Gujarat), describing
events during the Emergency. Among the people

he met in this role was trade unionist and
socialist activist George Fernandes, as well

as several other national political figures.
In his travels during the Emergency, Modi

was often forced to move in disguise, once
dressing as a monk, and once as a Sikh.Modi

became an RSS sambhag pracharak (regional
organiser) in 1978, overseeing RSS activities

in the areas of Surat and Vadodara, and in
1979 he went to work for the RSS in Delhi,

where he was put to work researching and writing
the RSS's version of the history of the Emergency.

He returned to Gujarat a short while later,
and was assigned by the RSS to the BJP in

1985. In 1987 Modi helped organise the BJP's
campaign in the Ahmedabad municipal election,

which the BJP won comfortably; Modi's planning
has been described as the reason for that

result by biographers. After L. K. Advani
became president of the BJP in 1986, the RSS

decided to place its members in important
positions within the BJP; Modi's work during

the Ahmedabad election led to his selection
for this role, and Modi was elected organising

secretary of the BJP's Gujarat unit later
in 1987.Modi rose within the party and was

named a member of the BJP's National Election
Committee in 1990, helping organise L. K.

Advani's 1990 Ram Rath Yatra in 1990 and Murli
Manohar Joshi's 1991–92 Ekta Yatra (Journey

for Unity). However, he took a brief break
from politics in 1992, instead establishing

a school in Ahmedabad; friction with Shankersingh
Vaghela, a BJP MP from Gujarat at the time,

also played a part in this decision. Modi
returned to electoral politics in 1994, partly

at the insistence of Advani, and as party
secretary, Modi's electoral strategy was considered

central to the BJP victory in the 1995 state
assembly elections. In November of that year

Modi was elected BJP national secretary and
transferred to New Delhi, where he assumed

responsibility for party activities in Haryana
and Himachal Pradesh. The following year,

Shankersinh Vaghela, a prominent BJP leader
from Gujarat, defected to the Indian National

Congress (Congress, INC) after losing his
parliamentary seat in the Lok Sabha elections.

Modi, on the selection committee for the 1998
Assembly elections in Gujarat, favoured supporters

of BJP leader Keshubhai Patel over those supporting
Vaghela to end factional division in the party.

His strategy was credited as key to the BJP
winning an overall majority in the 1998 elections,

and Modi was promoted to BJP general secretary
(organisation) in May of that year.

== Chief Minister of Gujarat ==

Taking office ===

In 2001, Keshubhai Patel's health was failing
and the BJP lost a few state assembly seats

in by-elections. Allegations of abuse of power,
corruption and poor administration were made,

and Patel's standing had been damaged by his
administration's handling of the earthquake

in Bhuj in 2001. The BJP national leadership
sought a new candidate for the chief ministership,

and Modi, who had expressed misgivings about
Patel's administration, was chosen as a replacement.

Although BJP leader L. K. Advani did not want
to ostracise Patel and was concerned about

Modi's lack of experience in government, Modi
declined an offer to be Patel's deputy chief

minister, telling Advani and Atal Bihari Vajpayee
that he was "going to be fully responsible

for Gujarat or not at all". On 3 October 2001
he replaced Patel as Chief Minister of Gujarat,

with the responsibility of preparing the BJP
for the December 2002 elections. On 7 October

2001, Modi was administered the oath of office.
On 24 February 2002 he entered the Gujarat

state legislature by winning a by-election
to the Rajkot – II constituency, defeating

Ashwin Mehta of the INC by 14,728 votes, which
enabled him to take office.

=== 2002 Gujarat riots ===

On 27 February 2002, a train with several
hundred passengers burned near Godhra, killing

approximately 60 people. The train carried
a large number of Hindu pilgrims returning

from Ayodhya after a religious ceremony at
the site of the demolished Babri Masjid. In

making a public statement after the incident,
Modi said that the attack had been terror

attack planned by local Muslims. The next
day, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad called for

a bandh across the state. Riots began during
the bandh, and anti-Muslim violence spread

through Gujarat. The government's decision
to move the bodies of the train victims from

Godhra to Ahmedabad further inflamed the violence.
The state government stated later that 790

Muslims and 254 Hindus were killed. Independent
sources put the death toll at over 2000. Approximately

150,000 people were driven to refugee camps.
Numerous women and children were among the

victims; the violence included mass rapes
and mutilations of women.The government of

Gujarat itself is generally considered by
scholars to have been complicit in the riots,

and has otherwise received heavy criticism
for its handling of the situation. Several

scholars have described the violence as a
pogrom, while others have called it an example

of state terrorism. Summarising academic views
on the subject, Martha Nussbaum said: "There

is by now a broad consensus that the Gujarat
violence was a form of ethnic cleansing, that

in many ways it was premeditated, and that
it was carried out with the complicity of

the state government and officers of the law."
The Modi government imposed a curfew in 26

major cities, issued shoot-at-sight orders
and called for the army to patrol the streets,

but was unable to prevent the violence from
escalating. The president of the state unit

of the BJP expressed support for the bandh,
despite such actions being illegal at the

time. State officials later prevented riot
victims from leaving the refugee camps, and

the camps were often unable to meet the needs
of those living there. Muslim victims of the

riots were subject to further discrimination
when the state government announced that compensation

for Muslim victims would be half of that offered
to Hindus, although this decision was later

reversed after the issue was taken to court.
During the riots, police officers often did

not intervene in situations where they were
able. In 2012 Maya Kodnani, a minister in

Modi's government from 2007 to 2009, was convicted
by a lower court for participation in the

Naroda Patiya massacre during the 2002 riots.
Although Modi's government had announced that

it would seek the death penalty for Kodnani
on appeal, it reversed its decision in 2013.

On 21 April 2018, the Gujarat High Court acquitted
Kodnani while noting that there were several

shortfalls in the investigation.Modi's personal
involvement in the 2002 events has continued

to be debated. During the riots, Modi said
that "What is happening is a chain of action

and reaction." Later in 2002, Modi said the
way in which he had handled the media was

his only regret regarding the episode. Modi
has not offered an apology for the riots and

has stated that he should be rather punished
and not forgiven if he is guilty. In March

2008, the Supreme Court reopened several cases
related to the 2002 riots, including that

of the Gulbarg Society massacre, and established
a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to look

into the issue. In response to a petition
from Zakia Jafri (widow of Ehsan Jafri, who

was killed in the Gulbarg Society massacre),
in April 2009 the court also asked the SIT

to investigate the issue of Modi's complicity
in the killings. The SIT questioned Modi in

March 2010; in May, it presented to the court
a report finding no evidence against him.

In July 2011, the court-appointed amicus curiae
Raju Ramachandran submitted his final report

to the court. Contrary to the SIT's position,
he said that Modi could be prosecuted based

on the available evidence. The Supreme Court
gave the matter to the magistrate's court.

The SIT examined Ramachandran's report, and
in March 2012 submitted its final report,

asking for the case to be closed. Zakia Jaffri
filed a protest petition in response. In December

2013 the magistrate's court rejected the protest
petition, accepting the SIT's finding that

there was no evidence against the chief minister.

=== 2002 election ===
In the aftermath of the violence there were

widespread calls for Modi to resign as chief
minister from within and outside the state,

including from leaders of the Dravida Munnetra
Kazhagam and the Telugu Desam Party (allies

in the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance
coalition), and opposition parties stalled

Parliament over the issue. Modi submitted
his resignation at the April 2002 BJP national

executive meeting in Goa, but it was not accepted.
His cabinet had an emergency meeting on 19

July 2002, after which it offered its resignation
to the Gujarat Governor S. S. Bhandari, and

the state assembly was dissolved. Despite
opposition from the election commissioner,

who said that a number of voters were still
displaced, Modi succeeded in advancing the

election to December 2002. In the elections,
the BJP won 127 seats in the 182-member assembly.

Although Modi later denied it, he made significant
use of anti-Muslim rhetoric during his campaign,

and the BJP profited from religious polarisation
among the voters. He won the Maninagar constituency,

receiving 1,13,589 of 1,54,981 votes and defeating
INC candidate Yatin Oza by 75,333 votes. On

22 December 2002, Bhandari swore Modi in for
a second term. Modi framed the criticism of

his government for human rights violations
as an attack upon Gujarati pride, a strategy

which led to the BJP winning two-thirds of
the seats in the state assembly.

=== Second term ===
During Modi's second term the rhetoric of

the government shifted from Hindutva to Gujarat's
economic development. Modi curtailed the influence

of Sangh Parivar organisations such as the
Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) and the Vishva

Hindu Parishad (VHP), entrenched in the state
after the decline of Ahmedabad's textile industry,

and dropped Gordhan Zadafia (an ally of former
Sangh co-worker and VHP state chief Praveen

Togadia) from his cabinet. When the BKS staged
a farmers' demonstration Modi ordered their

eviction from state-provided houses, and his
decision to demolish 200 illegal temples in

Gandhinagar deepened the rift with the VHP.
Sangh organisations were no longer consulted

or informed in advance about Modi's administrative
decisions. Nonetheless, Modi retained connections

with some Hindu nationalists. Modi wrote a
foreword to a textbook by Dinanath Batra released

in 2014, which stated that ancient India possessed
technologies including test-tube babies.Modi's

relationship with Muslims continued to attract
criticism. Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee

(who asked Modi for tolerance in the aftermath
of the 2002 Gujarat violence and supported

his resignation as chief minister) distanced
himself, reaching out to North Indian Muslims

before the 2004 Lok Sabha elections. After
the elections Vajpayee called the violence

in Gujarat a reason for the BJP's electoral
defeat and said it had been a mistake to leave

Modi in office after the riots.Questions about
Modi's relationship with Muslims were also

raised by many Western nations during his
tenure as chief minister. Modi was barred

from entering the United States by the State
Department, in accordance with the recommendations

of the Commission on International Religious
Freedom formed under the aegis of the International

Religious Freedom Act, the only person denied
a US visa under this law. The UK and the European

Union refused to admit him because of what
they saw as his role in the riots. As Modi

rose to prominence in India, the UK and the
EU lifted their bans in October 2012 and March

2013, respectively, and after his election
as prime minister he was invited to Washington.During

the run-up to the 2007 assembly elections
and the 2009 general election, the BJP intensified

its rhetoric on terrorism. In July 2006, Modi
criticised Prime Minister Manmohan Singh " for

his reluctance to revive anti-terror legislation"
such as the 2002 Prevention of Terrorism Act.

He asked the national government to allow
states to invoke tougher laws in the wake

of the 2006 Mumbai train bombings. In 2007
Modi authored Karmayog, a 101-page booklet

discussing manual scavenging. In it, Modi
argued that scavenging was a "spiritual experience"

for Valmiks, a sub-caste of Dalits. However,
this book was not circulated that time because

of the election code of conduct. After the
November 2008 Mumbai attacks, Modi held a

meeting to discuss the security of Gujarat's
1,600-kilometre (990 mi)-long coastline, resulting

in government authorisation of 30 high-speed
surveillance boats. In July 2007 Modi completed

2,063 consecutive days as chief minister of
Gujarat, making him the longest-serving holder

of that post, and the BJP won 122 of 182 state-assembly
seats in that year's election.

=== Development projects ===

As Chief Minister, Modi favoured privatisation
and small government, which was at odds with

the philosophy of the RSS, usually described
as anti-privatisation and anti-globalisation.

His policies during his second term have been
credited with reducing corruption in the state.

He established financial and technology parks
in Gujarat and during the 2007 Vibrant Gujarat

summit, real-estate investment deals worth
₹6.6 trillion were signed.The governments

led by Patel and Modi supported NGOs and communities
in the creation of groundwater-conservation

projects. By December 2008, 500,000 structures
had been built, of which 113,738 were check

dams, which helped recharge the aquifers beneath
them. Sixty of the 112 tehsils which had depleted

the water table in 2004 had regained their
normal groundwater levels by 2010. As a result,

the state's production of genetically modified
cotton increased to become the largest in

India. The boom in cotton production and its
semi-arid land use led to Gujarat's agricultural

sector growing at an average rate of 9.6 percent
from 2001 to 2007. Public irrigation measures

in central and southern Gujarat, such as the
Sardar Sarovar Dam, were less successful.

The Sardar Sarovar project only irrigated
4–6% of the area intended. Nonetheless,

from 2001 to 2010 Gujarat recorded an agricultural
growth rate of 10.97 percent – the highest

of any state. However, sociologists have pointed
out that the growth rate under the 1992–97

INC government was 12.9 percent. In 2008 Modi
offered land in Gujarat to Tata Motors to

set up a plant manufacturing the Nano after
a popular agitation had forced the company

to move out of West Bengal. Several other
companies followed the Tata's to Gujarat.The

Modi government finished the process of bringing
electricity to every village in Gujarat that

its predecessor had almost completed. Modi
significantly changed the state's system of

power distribution, greatly impacting farmers.
Gujarat expanded the Jyotigram Yojana scheme,

in which agricultural electricity was separated
from other rural electricity; the agricultural

electricity was rationed to fit scheduled
irrigation demands, reducing its cost. Although

early protests by farmers ended when those
who benefited found that their electricity

supply had stabilised, according to an assessment
study corporations and large farmers benefited

from the policy at the expense of small farmers
and labourers.

=== Development debate ===

There has been a contentious debate surrounding
the development of the state of Gujarat during

Modi's tenure as chief minister. The GDP growth
rate of Gujarat averaged 10% during Modi's

tenure, a value above that of the country
as a whole, and similar to other highly industrialised

states. Gujarat also had a high rate of economic
growth in the 1990s, before Modi took office.

Some scholars have stated the rate of growth
did not accelerate during Modi's tenure, although

the state is considered to have maintained
a high growth rate during Modi's Chief Ministership.

Under Modi, Gujarat topped the World Bank's
"ease of doing business" rankings among Indian

states for two consecutive years. In 2013,
Gujarat was ranked first among Indian states

for "economic freedom" by a report measuring
governance, growth, citizens' rights and labour

and business regulation among the country's
20 largest states. In the later years of Modi's

government, Gujarat's economic growth was
frequently used as an argument to counter

allegations of communalism. Tax breaks for
businesses were easier to obtain in Gujarat

than in other states, as was land. Modi's
policies to make Gujarat attractive for investment

included the creation of Special Economic
Zones, where labour laws were greatly weakened.Despite

its growth rate, Gujarat had a relatively
poor record on human development, poverty

relief, nutrition and education during Modi's
tenure. In 2013, Gujarat ranked 13th in the

country with respect to rates of poverty and
21st in education. Nearly 45 percent of children

under five were underweight and 23 percent
were undernourished, putting the state in

the "alarming" category on the India State
Hunger Index. A study by UNICEF and the Indian

government found that Gujarat under Modi had
a poor record with respect to immunisation

in children.Over the decade from 2001 to 2011,
Gujarat did not change its position relative

to the rest of the country with respect to
poverty and female literacy, remaining near

the median of the 29 Indian states. It showed
only a marginal improvement in rates of infant

mortality, and its position with respect to
individual consumption declined. With respect

to the quality of education in government
schools, the state ranked below most Indian

states. The social policies of the government
generally did not benefit Muslims, Dalits,

and Adivasis, and generally increased social
inequalities. Development in Gujarat was generally

limited to the urban middle class, and citizens
in rural areas or from lower castes were increasingly

marginalised. In 2013 the state ranked 10th
of 21 Indian states in the Human Development

Index. Political Scientist Christophe Jaffrelot
says that under Modi the number of families

below the poverty line has increased and conditions
for rural adivasi and dalits, in particular,

have declined. Under Modi, the state government
spent far less than the national average on

education and healthcare. In July 2013, economics
Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen expressed disapproval

of Modi's governance record, saying that under
his administration Gujarat's "record in education

and healthcare is pretty bad". However, economists
Arvind Panagariya and Jagdish Bhagwati say

that Gujarat's social indicators have improved
from a lower baseline than that of other Indian

states. According to them, Gujarat's performance
in raising literacy rates has been superior

to other states and the "rapid" improvement
of health indicators is evidence that "its

progress has not been poor by any means."

=== Final years ===

During the 2012 campaign, Modi attempted to
identify himself with the state of Gujarat,

a strategy similar to that used by Indira
Gandhi during the Emergency, and projected

himself as protecting Gujarat against persecution
by the rest of India.Despite the BJP's shift

away from explicit Hindutva, Modi's election
campaign in 2007 and 2012 contained elements

of Hindu nationalism. Modi only attended Hindu
religious ceremonies, and had prominent associations

with Hindu religious leaders. During his 2012
campaign he twice refused to wear articles

of clothing gifted by Muslim leaders. He did,
however, maintain relations with Dawoodi Bohra.

His campaign included references to issues
known to cause religious polarisation, including

to Afzal Guru and the killing of Sohrabuddin
Sheikh. The BJP did not nominate any Muslim

candidates for the assembly election of 2012.
He had published a Gujarati book titled Jyotipunj

in 2008, containing profiles of various RSS
leaders. The longest was of M. S. Golwalkar,

under whose leadership the RSS expanded and
whom Modi refers to as Pujniya Shri Guruji

("Guru worthy of worship"). According to The
Economic Times, his intention was to explain

the workings of the RSS to his readers and
to reassure RSS members that he remained ideologically

aligned with them. Modi authored eight other
books, mostly containing short stories for

children.While campaigning for the 2012 assembly
elections, Modi made extensive use of holograms

and other technologies allowing him to reach
a large number of people, something he would

repeat in the 2014 general election. In the
2012 Gujarat Legislative Assembly elections,

Modi won the constituency of Maninagar by
86,373 votes over Shweta Bhatt, the INC candidate

and wife of Sanjiv Bhatt. The BJP won 115
of the 182 seats, continuing its majority

during his tenure and allowing the party to
form the government (as it had in Gujarat

since 1995).
In later by-elections the BJP won four more

assembly seats and two Lok Sabha seats held
by the INC, although Modi did not campaign

for its candidates. In 2013, the Wharton India
Economic Forum (WIEF) at the Wharton School

of the University of Pennsylvania cancelled
a keynote video-conference speech by Modi

following protests by Indian-Americans. After
his election as prime minister, Modi resigned

as the chief minister and as an MLA from Maninagar
on 21 May 2014. Anandiben Patel succeeded

him as the chief minister.

== 2014 Indian general election ==

In September 2013 Modi was named the BJP's
candidate for prime minister in the 2014 Lok

Sabha election. Several BJP leaders expressed
opposition to Modi's candidature, including

BJP founding member L. K. Advani, who cited
concern with leaders who were "concerned with

their personal agendas". Modi played a dominant
role in the BJP's election campaign. Several

people who voted for the BJP stated that if
Modi had not been the prime-ministerial candidate,

they would have voted for another party. The
focus on Modi as an individual was unusual

for a BJP election campaign. The election
was described as a referendum on Narendra

Modi.During the campaign, Modi focused on
the corruption scandals under the previous

INC government, and played on his image as
a politician who had created a high rate of

GDP growth in Gujarat. Modi projected himself
as a person who could bring about "development,"

without focus on any specific policies. His
message found support among young Indians

and among middle-class citizens. The BJP under
Modi was able to downplay concerns about the

protection of religious minorities and Modi's
commitment to secularism, areas in which he

had previously received criticism. Prior to
the election Modi's image in the media had

centered around his role in the 2002 Gujarat
riots, but during the campaign the BJP was

able to shift this to a focus on Modi's neoliberal
ideology and the Gujarat model of development.

Although the BJP avoided issues of Hindu nationalism
to an extent, Hindutva remained a significant

part of its campaign. The BJP's campaign was
assisted by its wide influence in the media.

Modi's campaign blitz cost approximately ₹50
billion (US$700 million), and received extensive

financial support from corporate donors. In
addition to more conventional campaign methods,

Modi made extensive use of social media, and
addressed more than 1000 rallies via hologram

appearances.The BJP won 31% of the vote, and
more than doubled its tally in the Lok Sabha

to 282, becoming the first party to win a
majority of seats on its own since 1984. Voter

dissatisfaction with the INC, as well as with
regional parties in North India, was another

reason for the success of the BJP, as was
the support from the RSS. In states such as

Uttar Pradesh in which the BJP performed well,
it drew exceptionally high support from upper-caste

Hindus, although the 10 percent of Muslim
votes won was more than it had won before.

It performed particularly well in parts of
the country that had recently experienced

violence between Hindus and Muslims. The magnitude
of the BJP's victory led many commentators

to say that the election constituted a political
realignment away from progressive parties

and towards the right-wing. Modi's tweet announcing
his victory was described as being emblematic

of the political realignment away from a secular,
socialist state towards capitalism and Hindu

cultural nationalism.Modi himself was a candidate
for the Lok Sabha in two constituencies: Varanasi

and Vadodara. He won in both constituencies,
defeating Aam Aadmi Party leader Arvind Kejriwal

in Varanasi and Madhusudan Mistry of the INC
in Vadodara by 570,128 votes. Modi, who was

unanimously elected leader of the BJP, was
appointed prime minister by India's president.

To comply with the law that an MP cannot represent
more than one constituency, he vacated the

Vadodara seat.

== Prime Minister ==

Modi was sworn in as the Prime Minister of
India on 26 May 2014 at the Rashtrapati Bhavan.

He became the first Prime Minister born after
India's independence from the British Empire.

His first cabinet consisted of 45 ministers,
25 fewer than the previous United Progressive

Alliance (UPA) government. 21 new ministers
were added to the council of ministers in

November 2014. During his premiership, India
rose to the 77th rank from 142th in the 2018

Ease of Doing Business ranking by World Bank.

=== Economic policies ===

The economic policies of Modi's government
focused on privatisation and liberalisation

of the economy, based on a neoliberal framework.
Modi liberalised India's foreign direct investment

policies, allowing more foreign investment
in several industries, including in defence

and the railways. Other reforms included removing
many of the country's labour regulations to

make it harder for workers to form unions
and easier for employers to hire and fire

them. These reforms met with support from
institutions such as the World Bank, but opposition

from scholars within the country. The labour
reforms also drew strong opposition from unions:

on 2 September 2015, eleven of the country's
largest unions went on strike, including one

affiliated with the BJP. The Bharatiya Mazdoor
Sangh, a constituent of the Sangh Parivar,

stated that the underlying motivation of labour
reforms favored corporations over labourers.

In his first budget, Finance Minister Arun
Jaitley promised to gradually reduce the budgetary

deficit from 4.1 percent to 3 percent over
two years, and to divest from shares in public

banks. Over Modi's first year in office, the
Indian GDP grew at a rate of 7.5 percent,

making it the world's fastest-growing large
economy.The funds dedicated to poverty reduction

programmes and social welfare measures were
greatly decreased by the Modi administration.

The money spent on social programmes declined
from 14.6% of GDP during the Congress government

to 12.6% during Modi's first year in office.
Spending on health and family welfare declined

by 15%, and on primary and secondary education
by 16%. The budgetary allocation for the Sarva

Shiksha Abhiyan, or the "education for all"
programme, declined by 22%. The government

also lowered corporate taxes, abolished the
wealth tax, and reduced customs duties on

gold, jewelry, and increased sales taxes.
In October 2014, the Modi government deregulated

diesel prices, and later increased taxes on
diesel and petrol.

In September 2014, Modi introduced the Make
in India initiative to encourage foreign companies

to manufacture products in India, with the
goal of turning the country into a global

manufacturing hub. Supporters of economic
liberalisation supported the initiative, while

critics argued it would allow foreign corporations
to capture a greater share of the Indian market.

In order to enable the construction of private
industrial corridors, the Modi administration

passed a land-reform bill that allowed it
to acquire private agricultural land without

conducting a social impact assessment, and
without the consent of the farmers who owned

it. Under the previous bill, the government
had required the consent of 80% of the owners

of a piece of property before acquiring it
for a private project: this requirement was

waived. The bill was passed via an executive
order after it faced opposition in parliament,

but was eventually allowed to lapse. Modi's
government put in place the Goods and Services

Tax, the biggest tax reform in the country
since independence. It subsumed around 17

different taxes and became effective from
1 July 2017.On 25 June 2015, Modi launched

a programme intended to develop 100 smart
cities. The "Smart Cities" programme is expected

to bring Information Technology companies
an extra benefit of ₹20 billion (US$280

million). In June 2015, Modi launched the
"Housing for All By 2022" project, which intends

to eliminate slums in India by building about
20 million affordable homes for India's urban


In his first cabinet decision, Modi set up
a team to investigate black money. On 9 November

2016, the government demonetised ₹500 and
₹1000 banknotes, with the stated intention

of curbing corruption, black money, the use
of counterfeit currency, and terrorism. The

move led to widespread protests throughout
the country, including one by opposition parties,

which stalled the winter session of parliament.
In the days following the demonetisation,

banks across the country faced severe cash
shortages, which had detrimental effects on

a number of small businesses, on agriculture,
and on transportation. People seeking to exchange

their notes had lengthy waits, and several
deaths were linked to the rush to exchange

cash. Following Modi's announcement, the Indian
stock indices BSE SENSEX and NIFTY 50 declined

steeply. There has been a steep increase in
digital payments and transactions in the country

since the day demonetization was announced.
Post the demonetisation, the number of income

tax returns filed for individuals rose by
25% indicating the widened tax net. Further,

the advance tax collections rose by 42% and
Self-assessment tax collections rose by 34%.

=== Health and sanitation policies ===

In his first year as prime minister, Modi
reduced the amount of money spent by the central

government on healthcare. The Modi government
launched New Health Policy (NHP) in January

2015. The policy did not increase the government's
spending on healthcare, instead emphasizing

the role of private healthcare organisations.
This represented a shift away from the policy

of the previous Congress government, which
had supported programmes to assist public

health goals, including reducing child and
maternal mortality rates. The National Health

Mission, which included public health programmes
targeted at these indices received nearly

20% less funds in 2015 than in the previous
year. 15 national health programmes, including

those aimed at controlling tobacco use and
supporting healthcare for the elderly, were

merged with the National Health Mission. In
its budget for the second year after it took

office, the Modi government reduced healthcare
spending by 15%. The healthcare budget for

the following year rose by 19%. The budget
was viewed positively by private insurance

providers. Public health experts criticised
its emphasis on the role of private healthcare

providers, and suggested that it represented
a shift away from public health facilities.

The healthcare budget rose by 11.5% in 2018;
the change included an allocation of 2000

crore for a government-funded health insurance
program, and a decrease in the budget of the

National Health Mission. Modi initially appointed
Harsh Vardhan, a doctor and an advocate of

tobacco control, as minister of health. However,
Vardhan was replaced in November 2014 by Jagat

Prakash Nadda. The government introduced stricter
packaging laws for tobacco which requires

85% of the packet size to be covered by pictorial
warnings. An article in the medical journal

Lancet stated that the country "might have
taken a few steps back in public health" under

Modi. A new National Health Policy was approved
in 2017.Modi has generally emphasised his

government's efforts at sanitation as a means
of ensuring good health. On 2 October 2014,

Modi launched the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan ("Clean
India") campaign. The stated goals of the

campaign included eliminating open defecation
and manual scavenging. The plan was to achieve

these aims in five years. As part of the programme,
the Indian government began constructing millions

of toilets in rural areas and encouraging
people to use them. The government also announced

plans to build new sewage treatment plants.
The administration plans to construct 60 million

toilets by 2019. The construction projects
have faced allegations of corruption, and

have faced severe difficulty in getting people
to use the toilets constructed for them. Since

the launch of scheme, sanitation cover in
the country has increased from 38.7% in October

2014 to 84.1% in May 2018. But people are
not using them due to various reasons. World

Health Organization (WHO) has in its report
stated that at least 180,000 diarrhoeal deaths

were averted in rural India since the launch
of the Swachhta Bharat Mission.Ayushman Bharat

Yojana was launched by Prime Minister on 23
September 2018, to provide health insurance

to 500 million beneficiaries. More than a
lakh people have taken benefit of the scheme

till October 2018.

=== Hindutva and education policy ===

During the 2014 election campaign, the BJP
sought to identify itself with political leaders

known to have opposed Hindu nationalism, including
B. R. Ambedkar, Subhas Chandra Bose, and Ram

Manohar Lohia. The campaign also saw the use
of rhetoric based on Hindutva, however, by

BJP leaders in certain states. Communal tensions
were played upon especially in Uttar Pradesh

and the states of Northeast India. A proposal
for the controversial Uniform Civil Code was

a part of the BJP's election manifesto.Several
state governments headed by the BJP have enacted

policies aligned with Hindutva after the election
of Modi as Prime Minister. The government

of Maharashtra banned the killing of cows
in 2014. The Modi administration has generally

avoided directly supporting policies related
to a Hindutva agenda. There has been an increase

in the activities of a number of other Hindu
nationalist organisations, sometimes with

the support of the government. The incidents
included a Hindu religious conversion programme,

a campaign against the alleged Islamic practice
of "Love Jihad", and attempts to celebrate

Nathuram Godse, the assassin of Mahatma Gandhi,
by members of the right wing Hindu Mahasabha.

The attempts at religious conversion have
been described by the VHP and other organisations

involved with them as attempts at "reconversion"
from Islam or Christianity. There have been

a number of reports of intimidation or coercion
of the subjects during these attempts. Officials

in the government, including the Home Minister,
have defended the attempts. There were additional

incidents of violence targeted at religious
minorities by Hindu nationalists. Modi refused

to remove a government minister from her position
after a popular outcry resulted from her referring

to religious minorities as "bastards." Commentators
have suggested, however, that the violence

was perpetrated by radical Hindu nationalists
to undercut the authority of Modi.The Modi

administration appointed Yellapragada Sudershan
Rao, who had previously been associated with

the RSS, chairperson of the Indian Council
of Historical Research (ICHR). In reaction

to his appointment, other historians and former
members of the ICHR, including those sympathetic

to the ruling party, questioned his credentials
as a historian. Several stated that the appointment

was part of an agenda of cultural nationalism.The
government began formulating a New Education

Policy, or NEP, soon after its election. As
of March 2016, this policy had yet to be implemented.

This was the third education policy introduced
by the Indian government, following those

of 1968 and 1986. The policy was described
as having overtones of Hindutva. The RSS had

a role in its creation, and it did not explicitly
mention the goals of "socialism, secularism

and democracy" that had been mentioned in
the first two policies. The policy emphasised

the education of minority students, as well
as those of economically backward groups,

in particular on improving enrolment in schools
among those groups. The policy proposed bringing

religious educational institutions under the
Right to Education Act. There was also a debate

about removing caste-based reservation in
favour of reservation based on income, a move

supported by the RSS, but which was criticised
as being discriminatory on the basis of caste.

=== Foreign policy ===

Foreign policy played a relatively small role
in Modi's election campaign, and did not feature

prominently in the BJP's election manifesto.
Modi invited all the other leaders of SAARC

countries to his swearing in ceremony as prime
minister. He was the first Indian prime minister

to do so.

Modi's foreign policy, similarly to that of
the preceding INC government, focused on improving

economic ties, security, and regional relations.
Modi continued Manmohan Singh's policy of

"multi-alignment." The Modi administration
tried to attract foreign investment in the

Indian economy from several sources, especially
in East Asia, with the use of slogans such

as "Make in India" and "Digital India". As
a part of this policy, the Modi government

completed India's application to join the
Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which is

led by China and Russia. (SCO). The government
also tried to improve relations with Islamic

nations in the Middle East, such as Bahrain,
Iran, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates,

as well as with Israel. Modi added five bilateral
strategic partnerships to the 25 that had

been agreed by his predecessors Singh and
Vajpayee.During the first few months after

the election, Modi made trips to a number
of different countries to further the goals

of his policy, and attended the BRICS, ASEAN,
and G20 summits. One of Modi's first visits

as prime minister was to Nepal, during which
he promised a billion USD in aid. Modi also

made several overtures to the United States,
including multiple visits to that country.

While this was described as an unexpected
development, due to the US having previously

denied Modi a travel visa over his role during
the 2002 Gujarat riots, it was also expected

to strengthen diplomatic and trade relations
between the two countries.In 2015, the Indian

parliament ratified a land exchange deal with
Bangladesh about the India–Bangladesh enclaves,

which had been initiated by the government
of Manmohan Singh. Modi's administration gave

renewed attention to India's "Look East Policy",
instituted in 1991. The policy was renamed

the "Act East Policy", and involved directing
Indian foreign policy towards East Asia and

Southeast Asia. The government signed agreements
to improve land connectivity with Myanmar,

through the state of Manipur. This represented
a break with India's historic engagement with

Myanmar, which prioritised border security
over trade. As of July 2016, Modi had made

51 trips to 42 countries with the intent of
strengthening diplomatic relations.

=== Defence policy ===

The BJP election manifesto had also promised
to deal with illegal immigration into India

in the Northeast, as well as to be more firm
in its handling of insurgent groups. During

the election campaign, Modi said that he would
be willing to accommodate Hindu migrants who

were being persecuted in Bangladesh, but those
that came with "political objectives" would

have to be sent back. The Modi government
issued a notification allowing Hindu, Sikh,

and Buddhist illegal immigrants from Pakistan
and Bangladesh to legalise their residency

in India. The government described the measure
as being taken for humanitarian reasons but

it drew criticism from several Assamese organisations.Modi
continued the previous INC administration's

policy of increasing military spending every
year, announcing an increase of 11% in the

military budget in 2015. This increase was
larger than the average growth under the Congress.The

Modi administration negotiated a peace agreement
with the largest faction of the National Socialist

Council of Nagaland (NSCM), which was announced
in August 2015. The Naga insurgency in northwest

India had begun in the 1950s. The NSCM and
the government had agreed to a ceasefire in

1997, but a peace accord had not previously
been signed. In 2015 the government abrogated

a 15-year ceasefire with the Khaplang faction
of the NSCM (NSCM-K). The NSCM-K responded

with a series of attacks, which killed 18
people. The Modi government carried out a

raid across the border with Myanmar as a result,
and labelled the NSCM-K a terrorist organisation.

Modi has repeatedly stated that Pakistan was
an exporter of terrorism. On 29 September

2016, the Indian Army stated that it had conducted
a surgical strike on terror launchpads in

Azad Kashmir, although Pakistan denied the
claim, and the details of the confrontation

are still in dispute.

=== Environmental policies ===

In naming his cabinet, Modi renamed the "Ministry
of Environment and Forests" the "Ministry

of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change."
In the first budget of the government, the

money allotted to this ministry was reduced
by more than 50%. The new ministry also removed

or diluted a number of laws related to environmental
protection. These included no longer requiring

clearance from the National Board for Wildlife
for projects close to protected areas, and

allowing certain projects to proceed before
environmental clearance was received. The

government also tried to reconstitute the
Wildlife board such that it no longer had

representatives from non-governmental organisations:
however, this move was prevented by the Supreme

Court.Modi also relaxed or abolished a number
of other environmental regulations, particularly

those related to industrial activity. A government
committee stated that the existing system

only served to create corruption, and that
the government should instead rely on the

owners of industries to voluntarily inform
the government about the pollution they were

creating. Other changes included reducing
ministry oversight on small mining projects,

and no longer requiring approval from tribal
councils for projects inside forested areas.

In addition, Modi lifted a moratorium on new
industrial activity in the most polluted areas

in the countries. The changes were welcomed
by businesspeople, but criticised by environmentalists.Under

the UPA government that preceded Modi's administration,
field trials of Genetically Modified (GM)

crops had essentially been put on hold, after
protests from farmers fearing for their livelihoods.

Under the Modi government these restrictions
were gradually lifted. The government received

some criticism for freezing the bank accounts
of environmental group Greenpeace, citing

financial irregularities, although a leaked
government report said that the freeze had

to do with Greenpeace's opposition to GM crops.

=== Governance and other initiatives ===
Modi's first year as prime minister saw significant

centralisation of power relative to previous
administrations. Modi's efforts at centralisation

have been linked to an increase in the number
of senior administration officials resigning

their positions. Although the government has
a majority of seats in the Lok Sabha, it does

not have one in the Rajya Sabha, which led
to its policies frequently being stymied there.

Thus, Modi resorted to passing a number of
ordinances to enact his policies, leading

to further centralisation of power. The government
also passed a bill increasing the control

that it had over the appointment of judges,
and reducing that of the judiciary.On 31 December

2014, Modi announced that the Planning Commission
had been scrapped. It was replaced with a

body called the National Institution for Transforming
India, or NITI Aayog. The Planning Commission

was a legacy of the Indian Independence movement,
although critics said that it was slowing

economic growth. The move had the effect of
greatly centralising the power previously

with the planning commission in the person
of the prime minister. It also reduced the

extent of control individual states had over
their financial allocation from the union

government, and unlike the planning commission,
it does not have the power to allocate funds.

The planning commission had received heavy
criticism in previous years for creating inefficiency

in the government, and of not filling its
role of improving social welfare: however,

since the economic liberalisation of the 1990s,
it had been the major government body responsible

for measures related to social justice.The
Modi government launched investigations by

the Intelligence Bureau against numerous civil
society organizations and foreign non-governmental

organizations in the first year of the administration.
The investigations, on the grounds that these

organizations were slowing economic growth,
was criticized as a witchhunt. International

humanitarian aid organisation Medecins Sans
Frontieres was among the groups that were

put under pressure. Other organisations affected
included the Sierra Club and Avaaz. Cases

of sedition were filed against individuals
criticising the government. This led to discontent

within the BJP regarding Modi's style of functioning
and drew comparisons to the governing style

of Indira Gandhi.Modi repealed 1,200 obsolete
laws in first three years as prime minister,

against a total of 1,301 such laws repealed
by previous governments over a span of 64

years. He started a monthly radio programme
titled "Mann Ki Baat" on 3 October 2014. Modi

also launched the Digital India programme,
which has the goal of ensuring that government

services are available electronically, building
infrastructure to provide high-speed Internet

access to rural areas, boosting manufacturing
of electronic goods in the country, and promoting

digital literacy.

== Personal life and image ==

Personal life ===

In accordance with Ghanchi tradition, Modi's
marriage was arranged by his parents when

he was a child. He was engaged at age 13 to
Jashodaben, marrying her when he was 18. They

spent little time together and grew apart
when Modi began two years of travel, including

visits to Hindu ashrams. Reportedly, their
marriage was never consummated, and he kept

it a secret because otherwise he could not
have become a 'pracharak' in the puritan Rashtriya

Swayamsevak Sangh. Although Modi kept his
marriage secret for most of his career, he

acknowledged his wife when he filed his nomination
for a parliamentary seat in the 2014 general

elections. Modi maintains a close relationship
with his mother, Hiraben and often visits

her on his birthday to seek her blessings.A
vegetarian and teetotaler, Modi has a frugal

lifestyle and is a workaholic and introvert.
Adept at using social media, he has been since

September 2014 the third-most-followed leader
in the world (with over 34.6 million followers

on Twitter as of September 2017), behind Barack
Obama (95.6 million followers) and Donald

Trump (38.8 million followers). Modi's 31
August 2012 post on Google Hangouts made him

the first Indian politician to interact with
netizens on live chat. Modi has also been

called a fashion-icon for his signature crisply
ironed, half-sleeved kurta, as well as for

a suit with his name embroidered repeatedly
in the pinstripes that he wore during a state

visit by US President Barack Obama, which
drew public and media attention and criticism.

Modi's personality has been variously described
by scholars and biographers as energetic,

arrogant, and charismatic.The nomination of
Modi for the prime ministership drew attention

to his reputation as "one of contemporary
India's most controversial and divisive politicians."

During the 2014 election campaign the BJP
projected an image of Modi as a strong, masculine

leader, who would be able to take difficult
decisions. Campaigns in which he has participated

have focused on Modi as an individual, in
a manner unusual for the BJP and RSS. Modi

has relied upon his reputation as a politician
able to bring about economic growth and "development".

Nonetheless, his role in the 2002 Gujarat
riots continues to attract criticism and controversy.

Modi's hardline Hindutva philosophy and the
policies adopted by his government continue

to draw criticism, and have been seen as evidence
of a majoritarian and exclusionary social


=== Approval ratings ===
As a Prime Minister, Modi has received consistently

high approval ratings; at the end of his first
year in office, he received an overall approval

rating of 87% in a Pew Research poll, with
68% of people rating him "very favorably"

and 93% approving of his government. His approval
rating remained largely consistent at around

74% through his second year in office, according
to a nationwide poll conducted by instaVaani.

At the end of his second year in office, an
updated Pew Research poll showed Modi continued

to receive high overall approval ratings of
81%, with 57% of those polled rating him "very

favorably." At the end of his third year in
office, a further Pew Research poll showed

Modi with an overall approval rating of 88%,
his highest yet, with 69% of people polled

rating him "very favorably." A poll conducted
by The Times of India in May 2017 showed 77%

of the respondents rated Modi as "very good"
and "good". In early 2017, a survey from Pew

Research Center showed Modi to be the most
popular figure in Indian politics.However

he is seen to be losing some approval in 2018
to his oppositon leader Rahul Gandhi.

== Awards and recognition ==
Modi was named the Best Chief Minister in

a 2007 nationwide survey by India Today. In
March 2012, he appeared on the cover of the

Asian edition of Time Magazine, one of the
few Indian politicians to have done so. He

was awarded Indian of the Year by CNN-IBN
news network in 2014. In 2014, 2015 and 2017,

he was named one of Time magazine's 100 Most
Influential People in the World. He was also

declared winner of the Time magazine reader's
poll for Person of the Year in 2014 and as

well as in 2016. Forbes Magazine ranked him
the 15th-Most-Powerful Person in the World

in 2014 and the 9th-Most-Powerful Person in
the World in 2015, 2016 and 2018. In 2015,

Modi was ranked the 13th-Most-Influential
Person in the World by Bloomberg Markets Magazine.

In the same year he was named one of Time's
"30 Most Influential People on the Internet"

as the second-most-followed politician on
Twitter and Facebook. Modi was ranked fifth

on Fortune Magazine's first annual list of
the "World's Greatest Leaders" in 2015. In

2017, Gallup International Association (GIA)
conducted a poll and ranked PM Modi as third

top leader of the world. In 2016, a wax statue
of Modi was unveiled at Madame Tussaud Wax

Museum in London.As of 2018 statistics he
is the third most followed world leader on

Twitter and the topmost followed world leader
on Facebook and Instagram.On October 3, 2018,

PM Modi received UN's highest environmental
award, the 'Champions of the Earth award',

for his “pioneering work in championing”
the International Solar Alliance and “new

areas of levels of cooperation on environmental
action”.On October 24, 2018, The Seoul Peace

Prize Committee conferred the 2018 Seoul Peace
Prize on PM Modi, in recognition of his dedication

to improving international cooperation, raising
global economic growth, accelerating the Human

Development of the people of India by fostering
economic growth in the world's fastest-growing

large economy and furthering the development
of democracy through anti-corruption and social

integration efforts. He is the first Indian
to win this prestigious award.........

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