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Narendra Modi: Prime Minister Modi’s popularity skyrockets as India overcomes Covid pandemic | India News


NEW DELHI: Just before the coronavirus reached India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi faced serious challenges, perhaps the largest of his term.

Anti-government protests rocked the country. Hindu and Muslim riots broke out in the capital just as President Donald Trump was visiting. And India’s once hot economy was collapsing, losing millions of jobs and covering the entire country.

Since then, as the world has been hit by the coronavirus pandemic, many of these problems in India, especially economic ones, have only gotten worse. But once again, India has gathered around Modi.

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Recent opinion polls show that Modi’s high approval ratings have skyrocketed further in recent months, reaching 80%, even 90%. Unlike two of the populist leaders he is often compared to, Trump and Russia’s President Vladimir Putin, Modi is coping well with this crisis.

The result, some analysts say, is that if India continues to outperform the coronavirus decently, it can emerge with an even stronger hand as he and his party press their Hindu-focused policies. In the same way that the risky attitude towards Pakistan last year helped strengthen his reelection campaign, the deadly pandemic is drawing many Indians to his side despite persistent concerns about his agenda.

In times of national crisis, people tend to demonstrate around the flag. Leaders around the world have enjoyed a coronavirus boost, though for many, it’s not expected to last.

Modi’s success, analysts say, may be more lasting. He is widely viewed as a mobilizer, not a despot, which may explain why his national blockade of staying home, which he left the country four hours in advance, has been largely obeyed. Even millions of people have followed the softer, better-feeling exercises he has insisted on, such as asking Indians to stand at their doors and clap at one point, or light candles at another.

Still, it has not been a flawless performance. The Modi government was caught off guard by the epic exodus of migrant workers leaving the cities of India, making long, desperate and sometimes fatal trips. (On Saturday, more than 20 immigrants died in a truck accident while traveling home.) And many economists believe that the $ 260 billion aid package that Modi announced triumphantly this week, as he urged Indians to become more self-reliant, is hardly enough.

But he never downplayed the threat of the virus or said that India had capabilities it did not have. And unlike in the United States, where partisan politics has gobbled up the response and created great discord and even chaos, analysts say Modi has worked well with state-level officials across India, regardless of his ideology.

The result is that the political landscape that 69-year-old Modi has shaped in the past six years, since an increase in Hindu nationalism led him to major work in the world’s largest democracy, has only been reinforced. He and his Bharatiya Janata party, known as BJP, dominate the airwaves. They move uncontrollably when implementing policies. The political opposition is practically invisible.

“Modi is doing better than many others because he acted decisively, preventively, and relatively early in seeking the strictest closure in the world when crown cases were few in India,” said Sreeram Chaulia, dean of the School of Affairs. Jindal Internationals, outside New Delhi. . “His phrase ‘Jaan Hain a Jahaan Hain'”, meaning that the world exists only if you are alive, “played a chord.”

Now comes the hard part.

Next week, after almost two months of closing, the Indian economy is expected to open. The economic remains will emerge more clearly, with countless millions out of work and spilling onto the streets.

Food lines will grow. Businesses will have a hard time reopening. Many people will run out of money. Virus infections are likely to increase as well – the slope of the Indian chart has already increased as some blocking rules have started to decrease. Mumbai, the commercial capital, is struggling to contain infections, and protests have erupted elsewhere.

But for a nation of 1.3 trillion, the number of 82,000 reported coronavirus infections and 2,700 deaths is much lower per capita than in many other countries, especially the wealthiest ones such as the United States, Britain, Italy, and Russia.

Also read: Entrepreneurs, rural economy, UPM will benefit: Modi

Although the image of the virus here is especially confusing, because India is so large and has done less testing than many other nations, most independent health experts don’t believe the Modi government is hiding information.

What is clear is that many Indians are grateful to him.

“If it hadn’t been for this man, hospitals and mortuaries in the country would have run out of space,” said Vrushali Khadse Shet, human resources manager at a shipbuilding company in Goa. “His ability to deliver a message to the lowest strata of society worked, and so far we have been saved.”

Opinion polls indicate that much of India feels the same way. Morning Consult, an American firm that conducts online surveys in various countries, showed that Modi outperformed other world leaders. Its popularity is measured at 80%, well above Trump, Putin, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Great Britain, and many others.

Another survey, in the Times of India, a leading newspaper, showed that 93.5% of respondents felt that Modi was managing the virus crisis effectively.

Also read: more than 93% are confident that the Modi government will handle the Covid-19 crisis well, according to a survey

Of course, the Indians who have suffered the most under lock-in, such as migrant workers, were probably not part of these surveys. Many migrants interviewed in recent days pleaded with him to end the confinement and were not as enthusiastic about his decisions.

For this next phase as the blockade changes, Modi depends more on the main ministers of each state. It may seem advisory and more democratic, but analysts say it is also a tactic to spread the risk. If things don’t go as well in the next few weeks as the economic pain really starts to bite, well, Modi’s argument will go away, it’s not all my fault.

Academics hope that he and the BJP will continue to push for divisive policies that cater to Hindu nationalists in the Hindu majority of India. Those movements have been at the expense of India’s minority Muslim community, which has already suffered huge setbacks under Modi.

“The only limitations for him would have to come from abroad,” said Sumit Ganguly, a professor of Indian studies at Indiana University. “The protection barriers of most of the democratic institutions of India have been violated with the BJP rams.”

Modi has seen his runaway popularity stagnate before, out of financial concerns. The nation is lining up behind him at the moment, but the economic devastation of the coronavirus has yet to be taken into account.

For years Modi has won crucial support from the moderates and the middle class by projecting himself as India’s “economic messiah”, said Sumantra Bose, a political scientist at the London School of Economics.

And if the economy can’t get out of a nose dive, Bose added, “the messiah can be hoisted with his own firecracker.”

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