Narendra Modi not the only PM to also serve as CM?

28 Jul 2023 Arvind Chatterjee 0 Comments

The Stints of Chief Ministers Turned Prime Ministers,

Well, it's common knowledge that India's current Prime Minister Narendra Modi has previously served as the Chief Minister of Gujarat. Now many believe him to be an exception, a solitary case of a Chief Minister making it to the apex of the Indian Center. But hold on dear friends, Arvind is here, bursting your bubble of misconception, infusing a bit of historical extravagance to your daily knowledge intake. You see, Modi is not the first, and probably won't be the last to walk this route. This path from state policymaking to national governance has been tread before, and quite successfully at that. In a nation where regional politics often serves as a stepping stone to the national political landscape, it isn't an anomaly.

Delving into the Pantheon: Morarji Desai,

Let me take you on a journey, a trip back in time, when Jawaharlal Nehru's towering influence began shrinking, leading to the rise of a new breed of politicians. Among this new lot was a determined man named Morarji Desai, India's first non-Congress Prime Minister who also served as Bombay's Chief Minister. He held the position from 1952-1956 and was widely respected for his administrative prowess. A staunch Gandhian at heart, Desai's stint as CM was marked by challenges and triumphs, from quashing regional disputes to implementing pro-poor policies. Yet, his tenure as PM was fraught with controversy. First, there was the infamous Emergency of 1975. Then, his proposal to abolish income tax leaving everyone perplexed. Interestingly, during my school days, I remember my history teacher passionately recounting the incident, classified Desai as a unique paradox, a statement I now find eerily accurate. This story somehow got engraved in my memory and today, I find it both relevant and humorous to share here.

The Tale of a Maverick: Narendra Modi,

Fast forward to 2001, the political corridors of Gujarat resonated with a new name - Narendra Modi, a man who would hold the office of Chief Minister for a record twelve and a half years, before eventually ascending to Delhi's throne. Modi's tenure as Gujarat CM was an amalgamation of bold decisions, infrastructural developments, and controversies. Yet, he managed to captivate the mass, which eventually catapulted him to the office of Prime Minister. As a journalist, I have closely followed Modi's political journey and can attest to the blend of surprise and admiration his leadership often induces. Whether you agree with it or not, one cannot deny the impact it brings. His journey from being boy from Vadnagar to Prime Minister is a tale of sheer stubborn resolution and undying spirit.

Charismatic Leadership: A Common Link,

Digging deeper into the history, I discovered a common thread weaving through the careers of these CM to PM transits - Charismatic Leadership. Be it Morarji Desai's administrative excellence or Narendra Modi's strategic alacrity, they ignited a mass public appeal. They often left their critics confounded with their marked departure from the conventional political discourse. And yes, they did have their share of dissent and criticism, but that's an integral part of politics, isn't it? So my dear friends, the next time you hear someone say that Narendra Modi is the only Chief Minister turned Prime Minister of India, feel free to share your newfound wisdom, bursting their bubble just like I did yours.

A Peek into Future Potential,

To sum it up, it is important to discern systems and patterns around us. Recognizing that the elevation from Chief Minister to Prime Minister is not an isolated incident, but rather a part of a larger political pattern, can help us to look at the Indian political spectrum with a more nuanced perspective. Who knows, maybe this pattern will repeat itself in 2024 or 2029? Only time will tell. By the way, I've seen a few rising star Chief Ministers who might fit the bill. But that's a story for another day, another article. Until then, keep your knowledge appetite satiated with some pop history and politics.