India’s favored candidate for Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, has solidified his lead as his BJP party secures support from two unlikely demographics: rural voters and young people. A Pew Research Center poll found that 64 percent of rural Indians want the BJP to lead the next government, and about 60 percent of 18–29 year olds favor the party across a range of issues.
If Mr Modi were to explain his role in the violence and show genuine remorse, we would consider backing him, but he never has; it would be wrong for a man who has thrived on division to become prime minister of a country as fissile as India. […]We would wish him well, and we would be delighted for him to prove us wrong by governing India in a modern, honest and fair way. But for now he should be judged on his record—which is that of a man who is still associated with sectarian hatred. There is nothing modern, honest or fair about that. India deserves better.
Yet, as the Economist concedes and every poll suggests, it’s very unlikely that Modi’s controversial role in the riots will damage his chances when Indians go to the ballots this month.