Modi has only himself to beat

What tests will a politician have to pass to be a winner? Why might Modi's biggest opponent in the next polls be himself? Author Ruchir Sharma offers his views drawing on 25 years of following India's polls.

Every Indian election is an eye-opener that teaches us something new, says author Ruchir Sharma. Every one has its shocks and its surprises, anointing new political heroes and discarding old ones. Every one gives us a sense of what India's people care most about and dream of, as it was with the latest election, which ended last week with a landslide victory for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

For a quarter of a century, Mr Sharma has led a caravan of journalists and intellectuals that has chased Indian election campaigns, criss-crossing the country by road, through its rural heartlands, small towns and big cities, travelling the equivalent of a lap around the earth, interviewing voters, candidates, activists, political fixers and bureaucrats to get the story of what makes India's democracy tick.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 29, 2019, with the headline 'Modi has only himself to beat'. Print Edition | Subscribe