Written by 09:41 World

Modi, Striking a Modest Tone, to Be Sworn In for a Third Term

As a humbled Narendra Modi prepared to take the oath for a third term as India’s prime minister on Sunday, the political air in New Delhi appeared transformed.

The election that ended last week stripped Mr. Modi of his parliamentary majority and forced him to turn to a diverse set of coalition partners to stay in power. Now, these other parties are enjoying something that for years was singularly Mr. Modi’s: relevance and the spotlight.

Their leaders have been swarmed by TV crews while on their way to present demands and policy opinions to Mr. Modi. His opponents, too, have been getting more airtime, with stations cutting live to their news conferences, something almost unheard-of in recent years.

Above all, the change can be seen in Mr. Modi himself. For now, at least, the messianic air is gone. He pitches himself as the modest administrator that voters showed they wanted.

“To run the government, a majority is necessary. But to run the nation, a consensus is necessary,” Mr. Modi said in a speech on Friday to members of his coalition. “The people want us to deliver better than before.”

To many, Mr. Modi’s shift in approach can only mean good things for the country’s democracy — a move toward moderation in a hugely diverse nation that was being whipped into a Hindu-first monolith in the image of one man.

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Last modified: 9 June 2024
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