Why Indian PM Narendra Modi is doubling down on fear

It's the Indian economy, stupid

Narendra Modi.
(Image credit: Illustrated | LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP/Getty Images, art-sonik/iStock)

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi led his party to a landslide victory five years ago by selling himself as the great reformer who'd turn India into a global economic power. It was a heady message for a country that feels cheated of greatness by decades of misrule. But Modi has so badly squandered that mandate that even he doesn't think he can credibly re-up it for the elections currently underway. So he has switched to portraying himself as the "chowkidar" — the guardian angel — who'll protect the nation from threats foreign and domestic.

It's a campaign of fear — and if it sticks, it will be because his opposition has no message at all.

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