Crossing another milestone, Prime Minister Narendra Modi entered 20th consecutive year as the democratically elected head of a government, without a break, on Wednesday.
Modi, who turned 70 last month, started as a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh volunteer and then served in the BJP's organisation for many years before the party leadership sent him to Gujarat, his home state, as its chief minister in 2001.
Since then, he has never tasted electoral defeat and led the BJP to power in the state three straight times before steering the party to its biggest, until then, Lok Sabha poll win in 2014 and then scripting an even bigger win in the 2019 general elections.
The journey of the prime minister in public office began on October 7, 2001, as the chief minister of Gujarat.
This was followed by three terms as the Gujarat CM in 2002, 2007 and 2012, respectively.
During the third term as the Gujarat CM, however, Modi fought the 2014 general elections.
His popularity, which was going through the roof both inside and outside the state, led to the Bharatiya Janata Party declaring him as its prime ministerial candidate in 2013.
He had been projected as the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance candidate for the PM post.
Defeating the Congress-led government which held sway at the Centre, CM Modi left Gujarat to take over the reins at the Centre.
"If the first term was fulfilling the needs of people then since 2019, PM Modi has set his sights on fulfilling the aspirations of 130 crore Indians. Jammu and Kashmir has finally been fully integrated in India and Article 370 is history. The Ram Mandir is now a reality with construction starting for a grand Ram Temple at the birth place of Prabhu Ram," an article shared on the official website of PM Modi on the day read.
"Our farmers have finally been freed from artificially imposed chains on them and far-reaching, historic agriculture reforms are now a reality. A host of other reforms such as Labour Reforms, Coal Reforms, allowing private enterprise in the space sector, FDI reforms across the board and tax reforms have put in place a foundation for sustained years of economic growth," the added..
Bharatiya Janata Party leaders heaped praise on Modi and his leadership as he entered his 20th year without a break as the head of an elected government, including close to 13 years as chief minister of Gujarat.
Party president J P Nadda said October 7, 2001, when Modi was sworn in as Gujarat chief minister for the first time, is a "milestone" in India's political history.
Modi has since been notching up bigger victories and his popularity has only gone up, Nadda said on Twitter.
The party also tweeted details of many of Modi's key schemes during his 19 years as the head of a government.
Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri lauded Modi for "20 years in service of humanity & Maa Bharati with dedication, vision & selflessness".
"Heartiest congratulations to PM @narendramodi Ji for becoming the only democratically elected world leader to serve the people continuously for 20 years since 2001," Puri said.
Be it as chief minister of Gujarat or as prime minister of the world's largest democracy, Modi has always been a crusader for people's welfare, the party said.
"PM Sri @narendramodi Ji has completed 6941 successful days in total as CM of Gujarat & PM of India. One of the unblemished tenures ever seen. Kept public welfare as a priority and never worried about himself. Always kept sovereignty & pride of India intact," its spokesperson Sudhanshu Trivedi tweeted.
With inputs from PTI