Why PM Modi’s still so popular even as India fails to fight coronavirus


NEW DELHI: India is battling one of the world’s highest coronavirus caseloads, its worst-ever economic slump, shuttered factories, farmer protests and the deadliest border fighting with China in decades.



Yet Prime Minister Narendra Modi appears to remain as popular as ever. Opinion polls in Bihar, where from October 28 to November 7 he faces his first major electoral test since the pandemic, show his coalition comfortably retaining control of the state go nment. A poll in August said 78% rated his performance as “good to outstanding” compared with 71% last year.


One of those supporters is Sanjay Kumar, 22, a carpenter who was beaten by police in April for violating India’s strict lockdown while cycling from the capital New Delhi to his village in Bihar -- a journey of more than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) -- after he lost his job. He’s still unable to find regular work.


“Some people are not getting all the benefits because of co ption in the middle and that is not his fault,” Kumar said, noting that Modi can’t control the spread of the virus if people don’t wear masks. “No one can question his good intentions,” he said. “He is sincerely trying his best to give poor people food and work.”


Many other Modi backers also blame others for India’s woes, and there is no shortage of targets: Federal bureaucrats, state go nments, village leaders, opposition parties and even their fellow citizens. The prime minister has helped endear himself to India’s poor by meeting their daily needs with programs to supply cooking gas, toilets and housing, all while taking measures to bolster the status of the Hindu majority over religious minorities.


In the absence of significant national opposition, voters have been willing to give Modi a very long leash, according to Milan Vaishnav, director and senior fellow at the South Asia Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.


As prime minister, Modi has been focused on making India both attractive to global investors and unabashedly Hindu. His Bharatiya Janata Party returned to power in May last year with a thumping majority following a campaign that highlighted his success in providing necessities to the poor, combined with a Hindu nationalist agenda that played up his strongman persona -- particularly against arch-rival Pakistan.


Modi has positioned himself along with other populist leaders across the globe who feed off anxieties that minority groups will one day supplant the majority even though Hindus make up 80% of India’s population, according to Sudha Pai, New Delhi-based political scientist, author and former pro-vice chancellor of the Centre for Political Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University. He’s also been adept at leaving the details of policies to ministers and bureaucrats who take the blame if something fails, she said.

新德里政治学家、作家、尼赫鲁大学政治研究中心前副校长Sudha Pai表示,尽管印度教徒占印度人口的80%,但人们担心少数族裔终有一天会取代多数民族,莫迪和全球其他民粹主义领导人一样在利用这种焦虑。Sudha Pai还说,莫迪还擅长把政策细节留给部长和官僚处理,如果事情失败了,后者会承担责任。

“Now we have a populist re gie that has created a leader that can’t do wrong,” Pai said. “He has this way of speaking like a godman.”

Sudha Pai说:“现在我们有一个民粹主义政府,一个不会犯错的领导人,他说话就像神一样。”

Modi has shown he can turn upheaval into political gains. In 2016, his move to abruptly withdraw 86% of circulating currency with four hours notice led to prolonged cash shortages and an economic slowdown that caused hardship across India. Still, his party won a key state in a landslide just months later as his party told voters it helped rein in co ption and tax evasion -- even though it ultimately failed to achieve its goal.


Part of his success is an ability to control the narrative. Modi hasn’t held a single press conference as prime minister during his six years in power, instead reaching out to the masses directly through a weekly radio program as well as posts on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube. His party’s social media army has effectively deflected blame for problems, including to opposition parties.


“Modi’s ability to reach his message directly to individuals is unsurpassable,” said Neelanjan Sircar, assistant professor at Ashoka University and senior visiting fellow at Center for Policy Research. “I am increasingly convinced of the connection between creating of a powerful charismatic leader and a media-controlled narrative. How do you build trust in somebody? You keep telling stories that build his credibility.”

阿育王大学助理教授、政策研究中心高级访问学者Neelanjan Sircar说:“莫迪直接向个人传达信息的能力是不可超越的,他不断地讲故事来建立他的可信度。”

As India’s Covid-19 outbreak became one of the fastest growing in the world, Modi shared a carefully choreographed video in August featuring him feeding peacocks in his official New Delhi residence during his morning exercise re gie. That kind of imagery has helped cement an image of Modi as “a monk-like ascetic who can be trusted with one’s life,” said Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, a political analyst who has written a biography on Modi.

今年8月,印度成为全球新冠病例增长最快的国家之一,莫迪分享了一段精心设计的视频,视频中他在晨练期间在新德里官邸喂孔雀。政治分析人士Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay曾写过一本关于莫迪的传记,他说,这有助于巩固莫迪的形象,“一个值得信赖的像僧侣一样的苦行者。

Sahebrao Patil, a 60-year-old driver in Maharashtra who suffered a loss of income after the lockdown, is among those who say Modi can do no wrong.

“I believe with all my heart that Modi cannot lie,” he said. “We don’t even ask who’s the candidate. We just vote for Modi.”

马哈拉施特拉邦60岁的司机Sahebrao Patil在封锁后失去了收入,他是认为莫迪不会犯错的人之一。“我全心全意相信莫迪不会说谎,”他说,“我们甚至不问有哪些候选人。我们只投票给莫迪。”


译文来源:三泰虎 http://www.santaihu.com/p/51117.html   译者:Jessica.Wu


Can you please tell me which country won the battle of Corona...


Sam Cincy




Ams Rawal

Look at the title of this opinion piece. Can you explain how you concluded that India failed to fight coronavirus.



Sreenivasa Naidu

Modi is popular because he is a good human and unlike other politicians, he cares about his country more than he cares about his family or himself. The same cannot be said for people like Mamata, Rahul, Thakreys, Pawars etc. They are are traitors and have no sence of nationalism in nthem. Also those opposing Modi have shown clear indianction that they consider the destruction on Indian as their main target and also siding with Pakistan and China is their traits.





Balakrishna Bhat

Whole world has failed to contain covid -19. India has fared much better than whole world. Why are you blaming Modi, Do you think Rahul would have contained the corona ?



Rinku Singh

Also in Asia, India has performed worst in controlling Covid and economy. Death per million is highest in India, so is the cases. No of deaths and infection are highest too. Why do we compare with the worst like US and Brazil? Why not Asia?





abhishek ranjan

This is the most malicious piece of article I have ever read.




Nobody in India cares for Bloomberg's opinion except for a select few(mostly elitists), and that is a good thing!



Nilesh Inkar

Modi is still popular just because of his strong IT Cell and brainless bhakts!




Modi is by far the best PM india has ever had or ever will have. He has fixed issues pending since independence. He has strive hard to get people of this country start loving and believing in the country again and that includes everyone inclusive of all religion. He needs to stay till atleast 2029 to finally get India closer to a developed nation





Anoop Prasad

These so called elite people will keep on speculating the reasons of Modi's popularity and he'll continue becoming more popular. Because he knows how to touch heart and minds of people.



Mritunjaya Halakatti

Modi Govt Failed ?? check your facts. India death rate lowest in the world. when complared with US India is 4.5 times bigger in population and our infection rate is very low.





Manohar Srinivasan

Strong on ideology, simple personal life style, clarity on communication, hard work, co ption free at the top, ruthless and fearless implementation of ideas against all odds, these qualities of Modi and his Government are reasons for his continued popularity



Kuldeep Rawat

Selfless service to the nation and its people.



Bhushan Pawar

He is Hindu leader and India is Hindustan !!.... Jai Hind




105 Nikhil

What can we expect from a left-leaning media house and how can you conclude that India losses the coronavirus battle?





But why blame PM for the failure of coronavirus..


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