India’s BJP government looks ever more like the one it replaced

Feb 22, 2018

AT A rally in the southern state of Karnataka the prime minister wagged his raised finger, accusing the local government, run by the rival Congress party, of creaming a 10% cut from every state contract. “Do you want a commission government, or do you want a mission government?” he boomed. After four years in power Narendra Modi still relishes nothing more than attacking his opponents as no-good, lazy and corrupt.

In response Karnataka’s chief minister, Siddaramaiah, who faces a state election in two months, posted a cartoon on his Twitter account. It pictured glum citizens queuing outside a bank, a reminder of Mr Modi’s painful “demonetisation” in 2016, which sent hundreds of millions of Indians rushing to exchange abruptly voided banknotes. From the back of the bank, meanwhile, emerged a pair of grinning millionaires carrying big sacks of money. Airily waving them off was a Modi-like figure labelled chowkidar or watchman.

The reference was not subtle....

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