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.

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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. Subscribe