Monday, March 10, 2014

Indian Elections: One Perspective

Manu Joseph in the NYT:

What the elections are largely about this time is the rise of the fierce Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi — whose charm in no small measure derives from the sense of danger he exudes from having been accused of complicity in the 2002 riots in Gujarat State that resulted in the deaths of more than a thousand people, mostly Muslims — and the political responses to his ascent.

The notion that Mr. Modi, who belongs to the Bharatiya Janata Party, which has been the principal opposition in Parliament for 10 years, is the answer to India’s woes has been propagated by the business community, which owns Indian journalism, and the urban middle class, which views the Indian National Congress as corrupt, inefficient and a reckless benefactor of the poor. The noise on social media, which is largely in favor of Mr. Modi, contains the low-stakes patriotism of Indian residents of the United States who do not have to live through the consequences of their long-distance affair with nationalism. They tend to be liberal Democrats in the United States, but political conservatives in India.