Boy from the Backyard

Photograph by Sumit Dayal for TIME

Designs on Delhi Modi is tipped as a contender to be India's next Prime Minister

Narendra Modi sits silently on stage in a posture of serene repose. The chief minister of the western Indian state of Gujarat, Modi is a controversial, ambitious and shrewd politician. Today, he is wearing the white of a penitent — he has embarked on a series of very public daylong fasts in front of thousands of supporters. It's Modi in makeover mode: an act of self-purification, humility and bridge building in a state that is still traumatized by the Hindu-led anti-Muslim massacres of 10 years ago and the flawed investigations in their wake. Modi says he wants Gujarat's people...

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