International media wary of BJP win

International media wary of BJP win

Warns of many challenges awaiting disciplinarian, 'steely style' Modi

International media wary of BJP win

The international media on Friday described Narendra Modi as a “no-nonsense, can-do leader” after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) secured a stunning win in the Lok Sabha polls, but cautioned that many challenges are in store for the “steely style” politician.

“With his conservative ideology and steely style of leadership, Mr Modi, who came from a humble background and rose through the ranks of a Hindu nationalist group, will prove a stark departure from his predecessors in that office,” The New York Times said commenting on BJP’s victory.

“His (Modi’s) image as a stern, disciplined leader has attracted vast throngs of voters, who hope he will crack down on corruption, jump-start India’s flagging economy and create manufacturing jobs,” it said.

The Times said Modi’s victory also worries many as he is “blamed by India’s Muslims for failing to stop riots” in Gujarat in 2002.

In its report, “Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi heads to victory in Indian election,” The Washington Post said: “After a gruelling campaign, economic reformer and Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi is set to become India’s next prime minister.”

“Modi, 63, had campaigned on a message of hope and revitalisation at a time when the country was dispirited by a stalled economy and a sense that its once-bright promise had dimmed,” it said.

The Post struck a note of caution saying business- friendly Modi “faces steep challenges” with recent dip in growth rate and job creation and skyrocketing inflation.

The Los Angeles Times described BJP’s win as a “rare electoral landslide..., and it reflected a nationwide wave of support for charismatic, controversial leader, Narendra Modi, who would become India’s next prime minister.”

British reserve

The general tone across a broad spectrum of the British media seems to be one of caution over the BJP’s right-wing roots. “India’s main opposition BJP has risen like a phoenix from the depths of despair,” the BBC said, adding, “BJP is expected to steer India sharply to the right after a decade of rule by Congress.”

“The new prime minister will be Narendra Modi, chief minister of the western state of Gujarat, who is seen as a no-nonsense, can-do leader who stands for development and muscular nationalism,” it said.

The Telegraph newspaper said: “Narendra Modi, the controversial Hindu nationalist leader, has promised ‘good days are coming’ in his first reaction to a historic victory by his BJP in national elections.” 

But Modi was the subject of much scrutiny in other newspapers in the UK.

The Guardian newspaper carried an article with a headline, “Narendra Modi: the controversial embodiment of a changing India.”

“Simple beginnings, ascetic ways and unapologetic Hindu nationalism help sweep BJP’s leading candidate to victory,” it said.

The Times said: “Modi, a Hindu nationalist who has pledged to reboot India’s economy, create millions of jobs and stamp out corruption, the chance of a clear mandate to pass a string of reforms designed to open up India’s economy to foreign investment.”

The right-leaning Daily Mail wrapped up with: “Tea boy sweeps to power as India’s new prime minister to end decades of rule by Gandhi dynasty in world’s biggest-ever election.”

CNN perspective

CNN, under the headline “Who is Narendra Modi? Meet India’s pro-business, Hindu nationalist PM-in-waiting” wondered, “What will Narendra Modi’s India look like?”

“The country’s prime minister-in-waiting — a staunch Hindu nationalist and the Chief Minister of the western state of Gujarat since 2001 — is a deeply polarising figure and an unproven commodity on the international stage,” it said.

“Analysts predict his arrival in the country’s top office will bring a marked change in direction for the world’s most populous democracy, a nation whose modern character has been defined by the inclusive, secular and liberal approach of the Congress Party, which has governed for most of the post-independence era,” CNN said.