Narendra Modi is divorced

"Equal to God" or "Splitter": Narendra Modi becomes India's prime minister again

If you are even cited as a role model by US President Donald Trump, you have probably done a lot right when it comes to voter mobilization. "Ab ki baar Trump sarkar," Trump shouted to the Republican expatriates in New York during his 2016 election campaign. "This time the Trump administration," he quotes Modi's motto, with which the now 69-year-old top candidate of the Hindu nationalist BJP colored half of India orange in 2014. One of his main arguments at the time: his supposedly 1.4 meter wide chest. While one half of India made fun of it, the other half apparently hit a nerve: the desire for a strong man who can stand up to his opponents - and in India that usually means Pakistan. Five years later, he can even extend the sensational result.

Long before Trump tweeted the world, Modi had discovered Facebook and social media. With 43 million followers, he is just behind Barack Obama. Born in the western Indian state of Gujarat, the third of six sons soon moved into politics. As a student of political science at Gujarat University, he was involved in the ultra-nationalist RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh), which is considered the parent organization of the BJP. After joining the party in the 1980s, he soon rose to become party secretary. In 2001 he became governor of Gujarat, and in 2014 he was finally able to win the historic victory as the top candidate of his party.

Critics accuse him of failing to keep his big promises - administrative reform, poverty reduction. In his project to base India on Hindu values, minorities are systematically excluded.

The talented speaker shuns contact with the free press: he gave his very first press conference just a few days ago. Especially at the end of the election campaign, his opponents increasingly attacked him personally - for example, that he had left his wife as a young man. It wasn't until 2014 that it became known that he was never divorced.

For his followers, Modi, the single, remains a "godlike" figure, for his opponents the biggest "splitter" in the country. In the last days of the election campaign he withdrew to the mountains, to the Hindu temple Kedarnath, to meditate. He will probably have little time for that again in the years to come. (Anna Sawerthal, May 23, 2019)