Amit Shah: PM Modi template for what it means to be a national leader

NEW DELHI: PM Narendra Modi is now the template for what it means to be a “national leader”, home minister Amit Shah has said, asserting that the label was earlier handed out to even politicians of no proven merit and only capable of winning election from one or two safe Lok Sabha seats.
While national leaders were identified in the immediate aftermath of the independence movement by their “name recall” across regions because of their participation in the freedom struggle, in the latter decades, notably at the height of the coalition era, the expression came to be much abused, he said, adding that the “Delhi media” generously distributed the status to its “friends and favourites”.
In the book ‘Modi@20 Dreams Meet Delivery’, brought out by Rupa Publications and to be launched on May 11, Shah wrote that such “facile and insincere manufacturing of national leaders” was shown up for what it was after Modi led BJP to its biggest Lok Sabha win in 2014 before repeating the feat with a bigger margin in 2019.
A close associate of Modi for over three decades, Shah wrote that the best teacher for a leader is “travelling to ordinary places, meeting ordinary families, sharing ordinary experiences, and doing all this by ordinary means.”
“Narendra Modi has done so with greater frequency and perseverance than any politician in the past 75 years,” he said, adding that before the 2014 and the 2019 polls, there had been “no mandate for hope; and no mandate that was simply a reward for tested performance”.
Noting that no party had won majority in Lok Sabha since 1984 till 2014, Shah said parties and PMs won majorities between 1952 and 1984 on the basis of the goodwill of the freedom movement, family legacy, anger against the incumbent (1977), a mix of fear and sympathy (1984) with appeasement, sectional prejudice, vote bank mobilisation and empty sloganeering like ‘Garibi Hatao’ of 1971.
Everybody now recognises that the 2014 polls marked the most decisive shift in the history of Indian politics, Shah wrote in the book that captures the political life of Modi in the past 20 years, ranging from his tenure as the CM of Gujarat to the PM of India.
Those who have contributed to the book include Sudha Murty, Sadhguru, Nandan Nilekani, external affairs minister S Jaishankar, late singer Lata Mangeshkar, National Security Adviser Ajit Doval, industrialist Uday Kotak, actor Anupam Kher, badminton star PV Sindhu and former principal secretary to PM Nripendra Mishra.