It seems Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is defying the established norms of politics. The leader, who is about to complete half of his tenure in office, is still backed by an overwhelming 81 percent of Indians, a recent report by the US-based Pew Research Center has said.

The figure is six percent less than that of 2015 but yet three more than the 78 percent registered in 2013, when Modi was yet to storm to power. It means despite various odds in the country’s domestic politics, Modi has continued to ride high. The report has said that even a majority of those who back the Opposition party --- Indian National Congress – has a positive opinion on Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party.

The survey has revealed that while two-third of Indians feels their country is being steered in the right direction, eighty percent of the people feels the economy is doing well. A good section is satisfied with India’s international role. Though Modi did not do that great when it came to his Pakistan policy as half disapproved of his stand.

An encouraging mid-term report

Overall, it’s an encouraging mid-term progress report for PM Modi. But what still makes him an overwhelming leader in Indian politics? It’s not that Modi hasn’t faced adversity in the last two-and-half years. His party lost a few prestigious elections while issues like Dadri lynching and anti-Dalit activism have been creating a furore for some time.

The situation in Jammu & Kashmir is also on the boil.

The key to Modi's success

The key to Modi’s success is that he has succeeded in setting up a positive legacy and the absence of a competitor has made it easier for him to stay at the top. The Pew report has spoken about positive feedback on other leaders like Sonia and Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal also, but to be honest, they are far behind the prime minister now in convincing the common man of India about any alternative leadership nationally.

A big positive for Modi is that there has been no corruption charges against him or any member of his government. On the contrary, he is often seen taking a strong stand against issues like black money, warning even his own people. This has appealed well to the mammoth middle-class that dominates the socio-political space of India at the moment.

Modi and his ministers, too, have catered to this support base by bringing the administration closer to the common man through social media like Twitter and Facebook. This has made bureaucratic hurdles ‘disappear’ and brightened the image of the Modi government as one which is pro-people.

One can’t say how much such customized service by the ministers (from the railway minister to even the foreign minister) has improved the overall public delivery system, but those instances have undoubtedly helped Modi’s cause in this age of media limelight.

The currency of nationalism

Another advantage of Modi lies in the success of the currency of nationalism in the current times. It’s not that only India has regained a confidence in the international fraternity, thanks to Modi’s proactive foreign policy.A number of big powers like the United States, China, Russia or various European countries have also been promoting strong nationalistic ambitions (Modi is comparatively moderate, one would say), making the concept of liberalism obsolete.

And here is where Modi’s party, which believes in a philosophy of cultural homogeneity, is thriving. The combination of Modi’s pro-development personalised leadership with the political philosophy of cultural nationalism has been a recipe for big success in today’s India.

Indians love personalized leadership

Whatever be the political order of the day – Indians have eternally shown their love for personalized leadership -- from Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi to now Modi. The current premier is even luckier for he has a wide variety of resources of the free world at his disposal. And he has made a wise use of them to remain at the top.

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