Posted by: John Elliott | March 21, 2019

The Modi Years: ‘Not What Was Needed’ – my “IMPLOSION” book updated

New “Modi” edition of IMPLOSION: India’s Tryst with Reality

Modi’s performance – and non-performance – analysed in detail

The key decision facing India’s electorate as they vote in the coming weeks is whether Narendra Modi’s National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government has performed well on his 2014 Achhe Din promise that “good times are coming”.

The raucous election campaign is dominated currently by the high-decibel battle between Modi and the Congress Party’s Rahul Gandhi over whether the tag Chowkidar (guard) is positive or negative, especially over corruption. There has been little focus on substantive issues such as a lack of jobs.

But, behind all the noise and personal attacks, the real issue is to balance what Modi has – or has not – achieved on broad development and economic issues against what has been a Hindu nationalist attack on institutions and a serious decline in social cohesion.

Implosion cover for blogIn a new “Modi” edition of my book, IMPLOSION: India’s Tryst with Reality, which has just been published by Harper Collins India, I come to the conclusion that the presidential-style prime minister has indeed not done enough to meet the targets, expectations and hopes of 2014.

The headline for a new section of five chapters is The Modi Years: Not What Was Needed.

This is because, alongside the growing social concerns, there has been a lack of improvements in the broad running of the economy. Policies and initiatives have produced far less than was needed or promised.

In my conclusions however, I say that the choice is not so simple because, despite his many shortcomings, Modi has begun the job of making India function better. In ten or twenty years’ time, 2014-19 could well be seen as a period when big developments were begun in health and cleanliness, skills and the digital economy.

Modi said in 2014 that he would need a second five year-term to see through what he started. To bolster his prospects of being elected, having failed to deliver enough, he and his ministers have been announcing a flood of initiatives since the end of last year.

There seems to be little prospect of the Congress Party under Rahul Gandhi and its mostly regional allies uniting into an effective reforming government.

Grandstand less

The key question therefore is whether voters will accept India becoming a Hindu-centric country and a more authoritarian and intolerant society in order to have a BJP government driving change – hoping that Modi realises he needs to grandstand less and actually manage the implementation of policies.

Put simply, the choice is between gambling on the hope that a Hindu nationalist government will drive economic and other reforms, or accepting the gentler more inclusive Nehruvian idea of India but with less reforming coherence and drive.

IMPLOSION is available in India’s bookshops as a paperback – or on at  where there is also a Kindle edition  

Internationally, a Kindle edition is on at and at

Implosion '19 jacket



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