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Repeat performance: Indias election

The Economist: The Intelligence

06:55 min | 4 years ago

Repeat performance: Indias election

"India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi looks at for a commanding victory in the country's election. Results are confirmed his ruling party looks likely to once again have enough seats to form a government on its own. The election was a massive undertaking supporters of Mr. Modise RTA, junior party, were among campaigners of all stripes. Trying to capture India's nine hundred million registered voters. After six weeks of staggered voting across the country. Mr. moody himself went on a meditation retreat apparently with lots of supporters in tow. He posted pictures and videos on social media from temple in the Himalayas. Now, he looks at to rejoin the noisy fray of Indian politics with a renewed mandate. Will the results are clear enough that Narendra Modi and his BJP the party have won an enormous victory today a victory to match his victory of five years ago. Alex Ravelli is India correspondent for the economist based in Delhi with uncanny similarity in terms of the net numbers, the actual results are different. He lost support in some places, but he gained it back in equal measure and other places. It means that he's just won a re election, a single party re election of a kind that no one has one in India before there's a tremendous amount of political power. It is disposable now. And if those results are confirmed, is should we view that as a sort of stamp of approval on, on Mr. Modi's first term, you know, you could take this as a as a stamp of approval on Mr. Mody as a leader? There's no doubt about that. It's harder to sit to call it a judgment on the first term since what? Campaigned on in the run-up to the voting was quite radically different than what he campaigned on in two thousand fourteen and indeed than what he delivered during his five years in office. But whatever the content of the statement, you can say, a great many Indian voters are happy to trust the future of the government to Mr. Mody. So what do you mean by that? What did he campaign on what to the instead deliver? Well, it's interesting, the first time round, if you look at all the slogans in two thousand fourteen it was mainly about development. There is an undertone of Hindu pride, but for the most part, it was about cleaning up government removing corruption of the kind that had plagued the previous government's last two years in office and building building building. There was a sort of unspoken idea that India could grow like China has grown and the slogan that was heard most often in the day of that victory was good times are coming at meant economic good times. Now the past five years, have brought far less. Good happy, economic news than Indians, would one in particular in areas like manufacturing jobs, the motive really staked earlier campaign on, so this time round in two thousand nineteen there was almost no discussion of that. There were vague bromides about development, but for the most part, Mr. Mody and his surrogates chose not to talk about what the economy might do or has done instead to talk about who they are, and who their enemies are and very, very pure red meat so to speak. Nationalism seems to have been the winning ticket for this campaign. You mentioned nationalism Hindu nationalism has played a huge part in this election rights. I mean, how much do you see that playing into into the government with this new mandate? It's an interesting question there's still some space between the concepts of nationalism and Hindu nationalism. Let's suppose nationalism means flag-waving identifying the leader with the armed forces being proud to be an Indian Hindu, nationalism means asserting this. Specific sectarian character overall the offices of government. It's a more controversial approach, and Mr. Modi is used it sparingly usually putting it to his deputies to insist that India is more Hindu than Muslim or the belonging to any other minority and it's played very well in some quarters, whereas for the national press and his own personal, prestige, Mr. Mody prefers to stick to India first nationalism. Well, what about more widely in the region? How will Bangladesh and Pakistan to predominantly Muslim countries respond to this victim if no doubt that the leaders of these countries will phone in their congratulations to Mr. Mody? It's hard to know what they might have wished as an outcome for this election. But there's some comfort and doing business with the same government in New Delhi. But it's notable where relations in particular with both Pakistan and Bangladesh concern that a lot of the Hindu, nationalist themes that Mr. moody is rates on the. Campaign trail, nationalist, Hindu, nationalist end up taking quite sharp pointy aimed at those neighbors on the one hand using series of aerial skirmishes with Pakistan, as a as a calling card for his strongman credentials and on the other hand is a very, very major citizenship issue unfurling in the eastern part of India where the idea that Bangaladeshi infiltrators government calls them are screwing up the demographics, making them less Hindu in particular has has become a sticking point in a lot of those precincts. And that's something that, that is actually quite difficult for the Indian government to talk to the bungalow. She government about. And what about India's opposition parties will everyone feel chasing? What will they do? Now, the congress party if you measured against it's two thousand fourteen results which were incredibly dismal as done a little bit less badly. Still done terribly BJP. It's done. Almost exactly the same which is to say. Efficiently. Well, and some third parties, fared better, others, fared worse. One question people are asking is, how does the congress react to this? Does it collapse in shame, does its leadership change various problems imagining any of those outcomes. But at this point, it's, it's really anybody's guess how the congress in particular react. And what about the markets and investors? How how will they take this JP victory, will the markets are uniformly happy about this, and they have been since Sunday nights exit polls were made public. They were pretty cheerful before that even and today, the, the most watched market index hit a new record the sex now of forty thousand points for the first time. And in one by where the trader said, it's, it's happy not, not so much at this point, because people expect real structural reforms from a Modi government, very unclear whether they're even interested in delivering those, but because there's an assurance that we know what the government is like going. Forward. It won't be fractured. It won't be surprising. The worst it can be as what we just had for the past five years. Alex, thank you very much for joining us.

India Prime Minister Narendra Modi Mr. Mody Modi Government Congress Party Indian Government BJP Pakistan Alex Ravelli Mr. Moody Bangladesh Mr. Modise Rta Himalayas New Delhi Delhi China