In a conversation with Pranay Sharma, historian Mahesh Rangarajan talks about Modi’s distinctiveness as a leader, the socio-political implications of the BJP’s second term, the Left’s lost legacy in India and the scope and potential of coalition politics. Excerpts:
The results show that Narendra Modi continues to be a very popular leader among the electorate. What is the reason for that?
Modi has emerged as the first leader other than Nehru and Indira Gandhi to complete a term leading a majority party government and then win re-election. A large part of voters, nearly 45 in 100, have voted for his party. In itself, it shows endorsement of the broad direction he has set out in since 2014.
We see Modi’s leadership as the core around which all political activities in India are taking place, something that used to happen much earlier around the Congress. What is the significance of this shift?
The Prime Minister is the pivot of the entire polity in a...