Three Factors Explain Narendra Modi's Popularity Among Educated Voters, Says Article in The Economist – News18

Curated By: News Desk
Last Updated: March 30, 2024, 20:30 IST
New Delhi, India
PM Narendra Modi’s tenure has increased India’s economic and geopolitical standing in the world, too, the article said. (PTI/File)
Class politics, economics and elite admiration for strongman rule are the three factors that explain the popularity of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi among educated voters, a piece in The Economist has said.
According to the article, PM Modi bucks the trend among populist leaders worldwide when it comes to approval ratings among educated voters.
“After the previous general election, in 2019, Lokniti, a pollster, found that around 42% of Indians with a degree supported Mr Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, while around 35% of those with only a primary-school education did. Polls conducted after state elections in 2023 confirm the trend. In Karnataka, for example, 45% of university-educated respondents supported the BJP,” the piece said.
“Unlike many of his counterparts abroad, Mr Modi has also been able to increase his support among the educated. Three factors — class politics, economics, and elite admiration for strongman rule — help explain why,” the article added.
It went onto explain that PM Modi has “marketed the BJP as a caste-agnostic, pan-Hindu” party.
“The second factor is economic. Annual growth was 8.4% in the last quarter of 2023… Goldman Sachs has called this phenomenon the rise of ‘affluent India’. It calculates that the number of Indians with an annual income of $10,000 or more grew from 20 million in 2011 to 60 million in 2023, and will hit 100 million by 2027,” The Economist article said.
“It is not surprising that Mr Modi has retained the support of those who have become richer… But Mr Modi’s tenure has increased India’s economic and geopolitical standing in the world, too. Partly because of India’s economic heft, and its importance as a counterweight to China, Mr Modi has been welcomed with open arms by leaders worldwide. Some think a dose of strongman rule is exactly what India needs,” it further said.
Explaining it as the third reason for the Prime Minister’s popularity, the article said India’s educated elite see Modi’s foreign policy as nationalist yet pragmatic.
“Mr Modi has negotiated four new trade deals since 2021, most recently with a grouping of four non-European countries on March 10th. In February, at the Raisina Dialogue in Delhi—India’s version of the Munich Security Conference—his ministers lamented the UN’s antiquated structure, while also positioning India as the leader of the global south.”
The article concluded with a comparison between PM Modi and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.
“Most elites have lost faith in Congress and its leader, Rahul Gandhi, who is seen as dynastic and out of touch… A stronger opposition is probably the only thing that will cause India’s elites to abandon Mr Modi. But for now, that is nowhere in sight.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is seeking a third term at the helm and has set a target of 400 seats in the Lok Sabha for the BJP. India will vote for a new Lok Sabha, the Lower House of Parliament, between April 19 and June 1. The counting of votes will take place on June 4.


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