NEW DELHI -- Here are the telltale signs of a government in serious trouble: when it sniffs a conspiracy in every criticism aimed at it; when it deploys state power in a ham-handed manner to curb dissent; when it looks the other way as its supporters abuse, intimidate, injure and even murder its ideological and political foes; when it seeks shelter behind a veil of high-decibel nationalism; when it dons the mantle of victimhood; and, not least, when it attracts ridicule more than rage.
NEW DELHI -- Modi is using the nationalism card to deflect political discourse away from his failures. He has lost key state elections, the economy is faltering and there is a palpable sense that he is unable to deliver. And the situation may soon get worse. The next general elections are in 2019. Who knows how many of us are going to be arrested for sedition, called terrorist if we are Muslim or beaten up by lynch mobs before then.
The Modi dream is fading. An Economist report found him widely described as an "authoritarian" and a "megalomaniac" even by supporters. More important, by all accounts, he does not believe in a liberal free market. Rather, like so many Republican politicians who routinely applaud free enterprise, he is more pro-business than pro-market.
NEW DELHI -- Despite speaking eloquently of tolerance and accommodation, Modi has remained largely silent in the face of hate speech by BJP ministers and MPs that is alienating India's non-Hindu minorities. The BJP may preach development, but it is practicing bigotry -- a contradiction that Modi could resolve only by repudiating the forces that helped ensure his electoral victory.
NEW DELHI -- The government's honeymoon is perhaps already over and realistically it has another six to 12 months to start putting flesh on the bare-bone schemes and ideas announced this past year. If these do not eventuate, one may well witness emptier stadiums abroad and hear shriller voices at home. Ultimately, for PM Modi to sell the Incredible India story, he will need to make India credible.