BBC News: is NaMo losing his mojo?

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BBC News: is NaMo losing his mojo?

Post by Rashmun on Thu Oct 19, 2017 8:21 am

One of the reasons why Narendra Modi swept to victory with a historic mandate in 2014 was his combative and upbeat oratory. Three years on, the Indian prime minister is beginning to sound unusually defensive.

Many say Mr Modi's characteristic bluster and bombast have begun to wane. In recent speeches, he has described his critics as doomsayers, blamed the previous Congress government for India's economic ills, painted himself as an "outsider" and said he was "willing to drink poison" for the good of the country. Has the victor turned victim?

"A small number of people weaken us," Mr Modi told a gathering of company secretaries recently. "We need to recognise such people."

So is Mr Modi beginning to lose his mojo? Three years ago, when he won his landslide, he promised reforms and jobs. But under his leadership - and at a time when the world economy appears to be taking off - India is looking like a sorry outlier, battling an economic slowdown and a jobs crisis.

Banks are struggling with mountains of bad loans, which in turn has choked credit and hurt domestic investment. "India's economy is grounded," says economist Praveen Chakravarty.
Mr Modi's response has been criticised as piecemeal and clumsy. A controversial currency ban last November, politically sold as a crackdown on the illegal economy, ended up halting growth and causing a lot of misery.

July's introduction of a much-lauded countrywide Goods and Services Tax (GST) to help India move towards a common market has caused widespread business disruption because of what is seen as shoddy execution.
In cities and towns, traders are upset over the grinding tax bureaucracy engendered by the GST. In villages - nearly half of Indians are engaged in agriculture - farmers are complaining of income insecurity as they believe the government isn't paying them enough for their produce.

Also, for the first time since winning power, Mr Modi's government is under attack.
A senior functionary from Mr Modi's party, the BJP, recently blamed his government for the economic slowdown. "The prime minister claims that he has seen poverty from close quarters," former finance minister Yashwant Sinha wrote. "His finance minister is working overtime to make sure that all Indians also see it from equally close quarters."

And Mr Modi is taking flak from the opposition too for a change. His main political rival, Rahul Gandhi, of the once mighty Congress party, appears to be suddenly re-energised and has been taking on Mr Modi more aggressively than ever before.
Added to this, the son of Amit Shah, Mr Modi's closest aide, is accused of corruption. Jay Shah denies the allegations and has threatened to sue non-profit news website The Wire over the story.


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