India: A time for healing after the national election

Two major tasks await PM Narendra Modi now that he has secured a massive election victory: Get the economy going and attend to communal peace by reining in majoritarian Hindu demands.

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The campaign banners are being taken down in the areas that witnessed the last of the seven-instalment national election in India. In millions of homes across the vast nation, minority Muslims and Christians are pondering what Prime Minister Narendra Modi's massive electoral triumph, secured partly on the back of his Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) strident Hindu nationalist messaging, implies for their own future as Indians.

Elsewhere, corporate houses faced with flagging domestic demand because of a cyclical downturn are hoping to see fresh ideas from the government. It does not help that the effects of an audacious move to curb illegal cash hoards by cancelling all high-value currency ended up hurting the cash-dependent rural economy, depressing demand and shutting down thousands of small businesses.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 25, 2019, with the headline India: A time for healing after the national election. Subscribe