Before the dawn of coronavirus antigovernment protests roiled the country. Hindu-Muslim riots broke out the day Trump visited India. Since then, the world has been whacked by the coronovirus pandemic.
The pandemic has exposed the worst in every country, in India economic woes has been exacerbated. Yet, Modi is able to rally support for himself. The NYT report underlines, “Recent opinion polls show that in the past few months Mr. Modi’s already high approval ratings have soared even higher, touching 80, even 90 percent. Unlike two of the populist leaders to whom he is often compared, President Trump and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, Mr. Modi is weathering this crisis quite well.”
Many speculate that Modi will emerge in a strong position than ever if he braves the wind of coronavirus. Modi is seen as a mobilizer, not a despot. People in India are supportive of the policies brought in the light of coronavirus.
Though, it has not been an immaculate performance. Pictures of mass exodus of migrant workers have caught the government off guard. Unlike in the United States, where the leaders have downplayed the virus threat, Modi has taken it seriously.
The consolidation of Hindu nationalism that Modi underpinned in his last term has shored up. However, India’s economy is expected to open up. Many say that it will exhibit the economic wreckage more clearly and will affect Modi’s standing.
“Morning Consult, an American firm that does online surveys in several countries, showed Mr. Modi outperforming other world leaders. His popularity is gauged at 80 percent, far above Mr. Trump, Mr. Putin, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain and several others”, said the report.
Analysts expect that this popularity will help Modi to push forward his divisive policies that has come at the cost of Muslims lives. Democratic institutions have been dismantled under Modi. “The only constraints on him would have to come from abroad,” said Sumit Ganguly, an Indian studies professor at Indiana University.
Link to the original article-https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/16/world/asia/coronavirus-modi-india.html