The crying shame of the first five years of the Modi government is the collapse of the economy. Growth rates are down; inflation is inching up, and the promised "jobs miracle" never happened. Unemployment and underemployment are increasing, and little has been done to trigger rural development.
Worse, Modi’s ill executed tax reform was overly bureaucratic, crippling small and mid-sized enterprises. His "demonetisation" (banning certain denominations of currency), intended to break the back of terrorism and corruption by eliminating black money from the system, ended in fiasco: new banknotes promptly replaced the old ones, while masses of informal and small scale businesses and farmers took a beating.
Meanwhile, the controversial Rafale jet deal suggests that crony capitalism is in full bloom in the country. Will other things change under Modi 2.0? Hopefully, because surely India’s masses of unemployed, who were betrayed but still voted him to power, will not be patient over the next five years.
The people can only hope that governance from 2019 will include:
putting a check on provocative and fake news on social media,
stopping the emasculation of institutions of democratic governance,
giving minorities a sense of security, and
prioritising issues of economy, ecology and growth; not giving precedence to obscurantism.
Modi, with his unmatched eloquence, manipulated the political discourse away from economic misery and focused attention on supposed enemies. He managed to hold large sections of the country in thrall as jingoism carried the day. A weak and fractured opposition running its campaign on inclusivity and justice for all got swept away, except in some southern states and the northern state of Punjab. The ruling NDA secured 45 % of the votes polled. Modi won; but did India?
Aditi Roy Ghatak