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.
Modi meets his mother after winning the 2014 elections
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 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$720 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.