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Modi 3.0: Make India a developed nation

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is on track to narrowly win a third term in office, according to preliminary vote counts. Results show his Bharatiya Janata Party taking just 289 seats and the opposition winning 223, falling short of the expected landslide victory.

Still, Modi is, by some measure, the most popular leader in the world, and the shambolic state of the main opposition party, the Indian National Congress, meant it was just a question of by how much, not whether, Modi would win. But his party’s significant loss of seats is a surprise and means it may need to form a coalition with smaller parties to form a government.

We’re likely to see Modi inaugurated within days, before jetting off to the G-7 meeting in Italy on June 13. Not a bad victory lap. For his return, he has laid out a “100-day” economic agenda that aims to put India on the path to becoming a developed country by 2047. That means building roads and railways, upgrading housing for low-income and middle-class citizens, updating labor laws, and concluding free trade agreements abroad, among many goals. With such a strong majority, the BJP will likely use a special “monsoon session” of parliament to get the ball rolling this summer.

Long-time India watchers will note the scant mentions in his campaign rhetoric of the Hindu-nationalist agenda that dominated much of Modi’s last two terms, and with good reason. Modi has largely fulfilled his promises to the ideologues, capping it off with opening the controversial Ram Temple in Ayodhya earlier this year. Now securely in power, Modi is looking to turn the volume down on cultural issues as he pursues economic development.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi attends the inauguration of the BAPS Hindu temple in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, February 14, 2024.

REUTERS/Amr Alfiky

India cracks down on anonymous donations before elections

The Supreme Court in India, the country with the most expensive elections in the world, has outlawed anonymous political donations ahead of national elections this spring.

The ruling, which dropped on Thursday, strikes down the electoral bond scheme concocted by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. It allowed individuals and companies to send unlimited donations to political parties without the need to disclose their identity.

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