Listen: Why the 2019 Indian election feels different to 2014
"Today. We chat with one of the world's leading communists about India richer Shama from Morgan Stanley. He's argument is that in rural India old class divisions. Still rule local politics which could spell trouble for Narendra Modi in my elections, plus climate change student politics, a divide between two impressive school students. Stay with us for that. Well, you might recall Narendra Modi's landslide election victory five years ago. How to believe but twenty four nine huge landslide election victory Ahmadi. Now, we lived the BJP this is the Hindu nationalist party live them to power. This was the first Indian prime minister in thirty years to govern without a coalition any Hedda rare opportunity to enact market friendly reforms that had stalled under his predecessor Manmohan Singh now until relatively recently Modi's BJP was odds on favorite to be reelected. But such as the magic politics that Modi's chances of victory. And now fifty fifty says, my guest richer Shama is chief global strategist at Morgan Stanley investment management. And he's author of a terrific new book called democracy on the road at twenty five year journey through India as just out by penguin Random House richer. Welcome back to between the lines Gregory back with your own thing. What do you think Modi's? Reelection is no longer a sure thing I think that when I wrote the book, and he was coming across a very United opposition. You just mentioned about how you wanna landslide victory in two thousand fourteen but one very important statistic. From that election was that he only or his party only got thirty one percent of the total vote share in India, and he was able to win a majority of the seats because the parliamentary democracy is so fag minted in India that the opposition is quite divided and you get a disproportionate number of seats with even thirty percent of the vote. So what was changing over the Bosnia? Is that a lot of the opposition parties in India state by state were coming together to put up a United front against that removes? That's really what was changing and why at taught is fog ability or winning the election was now much more fifty fifty than sort of hundred percent probably than most bookies were giving him. I'd say. Euro even to ago now, the only thing which has changed, and this is the changing nature of politics and any country, especially in India is the last couple of weeks they've had this escalated tension between India and Pakistan, and that's sort of please into Modi's hand. So I would say that once again, the the momentum has shifted back in his favor. Just because of the very unexpected develop in that taking place over the past few weeks, the accidents of history we've had on this program. Several times of the last five years, Richard Soudan, undo my from the American Enterprise Institute, you know, and he said that in two thousand fourteen there was an ABC mood that is anybody, but congress this is the the left of center ruling party for so long in India's history. You don't really see an anti Mody y emerging. Then do you know, I think if election is not about that his base remains pretty much intact. But I said the big difference that the opposition is coming together in many states. I'm critical battleground states such as the most populous state of India with really two hundred million people in such critical states the opposition is coming together. And when they do that, then typically the the leading party tends to be in trouble. That's the history of Indian politics. So that to me is the big dynamic at currently. Yes. So in a way, you're saying that these elections in my they more likely to shape up as a series of state contests. It's not really a nationwide contest between Mody and congress is it. That's right know, that the outside world likes to think of it that way because the two names that sort of resonate most with the outside world. I I now in the Gumby dine in but it's important to member that booties. Put together the total vote share in. India is Bailey fifty percent five zero. And so the other half is about all these regional parties in India. And that's really what I've tried to bring out in my book, which that this is the story of many India's India's less a country that our continent like the European Union with many states Funk's practically functioning like countries. And I think that that is the story of India which gets lost in translation to the outside world often. Now, this new book of yours democracy on the road. It's the result of your travels through India following election campaigns, pretty much since the lighten awning ninety south of the last twenty years, and you Rauch quote in an era when democracy is said to be in retreat worldwide, it's thriving in India. Yeah. That's the curse of the fact that when I've traveled for these elections, I find it soon remarkable that despite only advantages that the incumbent"