Narendra Modi, by default

The resistible rise of Modi (to paraphrase Bertolt Brecht) is revealing of the banalisation of Hindu nationalism — and the correlative marginalisation of Muslims; of the growing importance of mass communication and money in Indian politics — and more particularly of the nexus between politicians and the corporate sector; and of the declining impact of the judiciary on political personnel — the fact that Amit Shah has been chargesheeted and the condemnation to a

34-year jail sentence of a former member of Modi's government, Maya Kodnani, because of her role in the 2002 killings have made no difference. The former has been re-elected, of course. Certainly, the popularity of Modi reflects the valorisation of development issues, but this priority is interpreted in a very specific manner by the middle class which is more interested in consuming more than in fighting inequalities.

The writer is a senior research fellow at CERI, Sciences Po, Paris and professor of Indian politics and society at the King's India Institute, London

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