As India gave Prime Minister Narendra Modi a historic mandate with the ruling BJP returning to power in the Lok Sabha, here’s how the foreign media covered Modi’s victory.
The UK’s Guardian in an editorial said that the landslide win for Modi will see “India’s soul lost to a dark politics – one that views almost all 195 million Indian Muslims as second-class citizens”.
“The biggest election in history has just been won by one man: Narendra Modi. In 2014 the Bharatiya Janata party won an absolute majority for the first time in its history… Despite a spluttering economy five years later, Modi seems certain to have expanded his parliamentary majority. This is bad news for India and the world,” the editorial stated.
Though the daily called Modi a “undoubtedly a charismatic campaigner”, it said that “rather than transcend the faultlines of Indian society – religion, caste, region and language – Modi’s style is to throw them into sharp relief”.
“He is a populist who speaks in the name of the people against the elite despite being a seasoned public figure. Modi deployed with terrible effect false claims and partisan facts,” the article said.
Pakistani daily Dawn in an editorial said that “communal politics in India has triumphed in an age that will define the future of the republic”.
“The results are astounding, and depressingly show that religious hatred and sectarian politics can be exploited to lure voters.” The daily said that the “focus must now turn to a practical way forward for sustainable peace in the subcontinent”.
The News International said that Modi won because the Congress allowed him to.
“If Modi has won despite the long history of failures on the economic front, bad governance and the open war on religious minorities, it is because the opposition, especially the Congress, allowed him to.
“If the BJP and Modi have won this election, they perhaps deserved to win. They put in a great deal of hard work and have had the hunger to win.
“While we cannot ignore the epic lies, obfuscation, jingoism and hate that the BJP used against Indian Muslims and Pakistan to win this election, you have to acknowledge that the opposition failed to call Modi’s bluff and expose his failures on every front,” it stated.
Author Pankaj Mishra in a piece for the New York Times said: “Over five years of Modi’s rule, India has suffered variously from his raw wisdom, most gratuitously in November 2016, when his government abruptly withdrew nearly 90 percent of currency notes from circulation.
“From devastating the Indian economy to risking nuclear Armageddon in South Asia, Modi has confirmed that the leader of the world’s largest democracy is dangerously incompetent.”
“India under Modi’s rule has been marked by continuous explosions of violence in both virtual and real worlds,” the opinion piece said.
“Modi’s appointed task in India is the same as that of many far-right demagogues: To titillate a fearful and angry population with the scapegoating of minorities, refugees, leftists, liberals and others while accelerating predatory forms of capitalism.”
Author Vivan Marwaha, in an opinion piece for the Washington Post said: “Despite a record-high unemployment rate, a slowing economy and widespread agrarian distress, Indians overwhelmingly decided to give Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party a second chance to put the country back on track.”
“The slowdown in economic growth could still have emerged as a possible flashpoint during the elections. But the February suicide attack on Indian paramilitary forces in Pulwama and the government’s subsequent response – which included ordering air strikes on a terrorist camp in Pakistan – helped marshal vast amounts of support for Modi,” he said.
The BJP targeted the Indian millennials, who have largely grown up with social media, as carefully designed memes praising Modi went viral on Facebook and WhatsApp praising him for the terror strikes.
He said Modi was voted back to power as the “young Indians believed they had no credible alternative”.