‘Modi-fication’ to ‘Messianic Spell’: How World Media Sees PM Modi’s Bid For A Third Term in Lok Sabha Elections 2024

Speaking in Rajasthan’s Banswara on April 21, Prime Minister Narendra Modi accused the Congress of plotting to usurp the wealth and riches of Hindus and distribute them among “those with more kids”.

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International media has closely followed the Indian general election season, especially PM Narendra Modi, offering reports from an international perspective. Photo: Getty's Images

While Opposition cried “hate speech”, moved the election Commission of India for redress, the prime minister did not stop. He came back with the same assertion on April 23.

“The day before yesterday in Rajasthan I put forth some truth in front of the country and the entire Congress and INDI alliance went into a panic. I put forth the truth that Congress is plotting to snatch your property and distribute it to their special people...” Modi said in Tonk-Sawai Madhopur.

His comments have not just hogged headlines in the Indian media, but have come under the scanner of global news outlets.

India's "festival of democracy"—Lok Sabha elections 2024—that began on April 19 has captured the global attention as the largest electorate in the world is participating in the voting process. International media has closely followed the Indian general election season, especially PM Narendra Modi, offering reports from an international perspective.

Outlook takes a look look at the global headlines.

  • “Modi Calls Muslims ‘Infiltrators’ Who Would Take India’s Wealth” - The New York Times

This report by The New York Times follows Modi’s speech at Rajasthan’s Banswara on Sunday, where he alleged the opposition Congress had promised to redistribute people’s wealth among Muslims. The report says the “direct language” used by the PM comes as a contrast to the image he presents on the world stage.

  • "With democracy under threat in Narendra Modi’s India, how free and fair will this year’s election be?" - The Conversation, Australian Research Council

This report published just days before the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections highlights the growing need for a level playing field to conduct free and fair elections. Referring to Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest, freezing of Congress’ assets and the funding received by the ruling party under the electoral bonds scheme, the article talks about the decline of democratic processes in the world’s largest democracy.

  • “Once a fringe Indian ideology, Hindu nationalism is now mainstream, thanks to Modi's decade in power” - The Associated Press

The report published last week discusses the blurring line between religion and state. It traces Narendra Modi's journey over the past decade and highlights how Modi’s advancement of Hindu nationalism has appealed to the masses and will also play a pivotal role in securing him a third term.

  • “Why a third term for Modi could be ‘catastrophic’ for India’s 200 million Muslims” - The Independent

This article by The Independent highlights Indian Muslims’ growing anxiety and fear of persecution under Modi’s rule, having witnessed rising polarisation in the past decade.

  • "‘Messianic spell’: how Narendra Modi created a cult of personality" - The Guardian

The Guardian report discusses the power of “Brand Modi” whose face and name is attached to every scheme and campaign by the party. In contrast, the report also talks about the shrinking space for the Prime Minister’s criticism.

  • “The Modi-fication of India Is Almost Complete” - TIME Magazine

The article published by TIME magazine talks about how India has changed under Modi. From commenting on his “aggressive Hindu nationalism” to “discriminatory” laws and policies, the author says “there is little choice, then, but to accept the reality of a Modi-fied India.”

  • “Narendra Modi wants 400 seats in India's election. But to do it, he'll have to venture to the sceptical south” - ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

This report by ABC News highlights the need for the incumbent Bharatiya Janata Party and their allies to make inroads in South India, a region which has remained out of reach for the party, to be able to deliver on their 400 seat promise.

  • "India: Democracy in name only?" - Le Monde France

Published last month, this article by Le Monde talks of how the India that goes to polls this time is a “less democratic one”. With targeting of opposition leaders and “hollowing out” of institutions, the article traces the “making of a deeper state”.

  • In India elections are a matter of faith, and criticism is akin to blasphemy - Sydney Morning Herald

The article by Sydney Morning Herald says Modi’s reign has been “marked by an erosion of democratic norms” and talks of the “populist” government’s exercise of jailing or shutting down of dissenting voices.

  • "What Has Happened to the Rule of Law in India?" - The Atlantic Magazine

Published after the supreme court upheld the abrogation of Article 370 in Kashmir, this article talks about the alleged decline in the power held by the judiciary.