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After serving in politics for 22 years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi returns home to Rajkot

With preparations for a lavish return to Rajkot on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi marked the end of his 22 years as an elected official on Saturday. Modi was first elected as an MLA by the industrial city of Rajkot, which is located in southwest Gujarat.

Modi became victorious in his first Assembly election on February 24, 2002, having been elected from the Rajkot II seat.

Modi had taken over as Gujarat Chief Minister only four months before the nominations for that historic by-poll were filed, setting him on the path to Prime Minister’s home 7, Lok Kalyan Marg, New Delhi.

His ascent to the Gujarat government was not prompted by a public vote, but rather by the poor health and growing difficulties faced by the outgoing chief minister Keshubhai Patel, who was beginning to lose control of the administration after the 2001 Kutch earthquake.

Modi ran and won by about 15,000 votes in the Assembly by-poll from Rajkot II in an attempt to gain credibility for his chief ministership.

On Sunday, the 73-year-old, who served as Gujarat’s chief minister from 2001 to 2014 and as prime minister from 2014 to the present, will return to Rajkot to dedicate five new AIIMS-like facilities, including AIIMS Rajkot, to the country.

“A very special place in my heart will always belong to Rajkot.” This city’s citizens were the ones who had trust in me and helped me win my first election ever. Ever then, I have endeavored to fully embody the ambitions of the “janta janardan.” In addition, it’s a pleasant coincidence that I’ll be in Gujarat today and tomorrow for a program that includes the dedication of five AIIMS to the country from Rajkot,” Modi said on Saturday.

The archives from February 24, 2002, show Narendra Modi speaking at a public event in Rajkot. He thanked the audience for voting for him and for “putting him through ‘agni pareeksha.'”

Godhra train burning happened on the morning of February 27, 2002, a few days after Modi was sworn in as an MLA. This event sparked the worst communal riots in Gujarat’s history and set Modi up for future controversy, even though the Supreme Court cleared him of all charges in 2022.

The court came to the conclusion that petitioner Zakia Jafri, the widow of Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, who was murdered in the carnage, had falsely claimed that the riots in Gujarat were premeditated.

Up to his first election victory from Rajkot, Modi had operated in the background, supervising and organizing BJP members throughout every election. He was given credit for a number of catchphrases and election tactics that the BJP used to drastically alter the direction of Indian politics in the 1990s.

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