The Guardian has an interesting profile of Narendra Modi, the man who looks most likely to be India’s next Prime Minister, the leader of the largest democray in the world:
The BJP believes Modi, one of the most polarising figures to walk the Indian political stage for many years, can lead it to a landslide victory, despite opposition claims that he is a demagogue and a “hatemonger”. After a false start in 1996, the party won real power for the first time two years later, but lost the 2004 elections. Now BJP strategists believe they have an opportunity to end the long decades of Congress dominance for good – and with it the power of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. Insider v outsider, dynast v working-class boy made good, suspected sectarian v secularist: this electoral battle has it all. Some analysts talk of the most significant contest since India won its independence from Britain in 1947.
It’s astonishing to me how much this looks like a foregone conclusion on the ground, that it’s only a matter of the elections happening to make the transition, even more so than the Australian election last year was. The inevitable disappointment is due, but until then, cynicism has taken something of a back seat.
(Also, at 63, Modi would be the youngest PM in 20 years and more, and the first born after Independence in 1947. That’s kind of astonishing compared to Western democracies.)