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Modi rides nationalist fervor ahead of elections

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11 April 2019 10:30 am - 0     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

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REUTERS, 10th APRIL, 2019- India’s prime minister is rallying his nationalist base as the world’s biggest democracy begins a general election on Thursday, but it has become tighter than anticipated, thanks to dwindling incomes for farmers and scarce jobs.


Polls predict Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party-led (BJP) alliance will just win a parliamentary majority, a sharp drop from his commanding mandate five years ago, when he vowed to turn India into an economic and military power.


But his government’s inability to create a million jobs every month, and ease farmers’ distress over low product prices, has taken the shine off what is still the world’s fastest growing major economy.


From sugar farmers in northern Uttar Pradesh going unpaid for produce, to small businesses in the south shut because they are unable to meet the requirements of a new, unifying national tax, discontent has brewed for months.


“The election has become a lot closer than we think, sitting in Delhi,” said Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, author of a Modi biography and books on Hindu nationalist groups. “There is anger and disillusionment in the countryside.”

 


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