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Foreign policy gives Modi the edge in India’s elections

11 19 0

An average of all the opinion polls conducted on the eve of voting (scheduled in phases between April 11 and May 19) predicted Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies will win nearly 40 percent of the vote share and more than half of the seats in the Indian Parliament, which would translate into a second term for the incumbent Modi.

The opposition Congress Party and its alliance were projected to get a little over 30 percent of the votes and only one-fourth of the seats, which implies that Modi’s main challenger, Rahul Gandhi, is a long shot for prime minister. With results to be declared on May 23, the likelihood of a massive upset or shock ouster of Modi appears remote.

The reasons for Modi’s frontrunner status are manifold. He has five years of scandal-free governance, a seasoned popular touch and mass media management skills that few public relations gurus can match.

But apart from these advantages, the feverish electoral campaigning across India in the last few months has revealed an additional factor that was historically not a significant determinant of electoral success— foreign policy and national security.

Modi’s international achievements during his first term since 2014 have been harnessed to great effect by the BJP in its electioneering. The branding of Modi as a nationalistic icon who has raised India’s power and prestige in world affairs and secured the country from foes has struck a chord among many Indian voters, especially the urban middle classes.

The BJP has packaged the Modi government’s foreign policy as a series of memorable victories in the international arena and linked it to swelling national pride. Carefully chosen events........

© RT.com