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Modi-1 was economic chaos. Modi-2 is political chaos

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Here’s a hypothetical question. Is it possible for any country, at any point in time, to have a 45-year high unemployment rate, and still witness the return of the incumbent government?

Narendra Modi’s second term has come on the back of a crippling slowdown that his government is handling clumsily. Yet, most will agree that the BJP is likely to sweep the forthcoming assembly elections in Jharkhand, Haryana and Maharashtra. Like the 34-year-old Communist rule in West Bengal, the BJP’s election machinery is disconnected from the economic performance of the government. The two have nothing to do with each other.

If poor management of the economy, massive job losses and stagnant rural economy can’t make the BJP lose elections, what incentive does Narendra Modi have to focus on the economy?

What a politician chooses to spend his political capital on always tells a lot about their priorities.

In Narendra Modi’s first term as PM (Modi-1) it was demonetisation. A harebrained economic programme with a moralistic and socialist bent. As demonetisation brought daily life to a halt, Modi laughed about how people didn’t have money for weddings. “Ghar mein shaadi hai,” he said, “paise nahi hai,” waving his thumb. People have weddings but no money at home, he joked. The audience laughed too.

Demonetisation epitomises Modi’s love for disruption and chaos. It is by no means the only example. The tinkering with the Reserve Bank of India, the agile deal-making to win........

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