In spite of what is known about him – his love for yoga, affection for Barack Obama and love of a well-tailored suit – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi remains an enigma to many.
How did a man who used to peddle tea on trains, a man aligned to a conservative Hindu organization that is revered and reviled in equal measure, a man once considered a pariah by numerous western nations (including the US and UK), win a landslide victory to become leader of the world’s largest democracy?
How did an apparently austere right-wing politician harness the power of social media as well as a whole host of new technologies to reach out to more than 800 million voters – more than 171 million of whom voted for him?
How did a man once accused of overseeing the massacre of Muslims in his home state of Gujarat come to be lauded by world leaders, and be the object of such unbridled affection – from Barack Obama to Shinzo Abe; from Madison Square Garden to Thimphu?
These and a myriad other questions are now answered – to varying degrees – in a new book titled ‘The Modi Effect’ by Lance Price, the British journalist and one-time advisor to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
Price became the first person to interview the newly-elected Prime Minister after his spectacular triumph, grilling Modi for several hours and gaining largely-unfettered access to his inner circle.
It was a coup for someone who is a total outsider, evidence of Price’s’ reputation for perseverance – one which is only matched by Modi’s reputation for managing perceptions.
Modi’s is, in fact, an excellent decision because Price offers a myriad advantages – not least the fact that he is a naturally curious outsider, an award winning journalist and a man who has first-hand experience into how politicians shape and shift public opinion.
However, ‘The Modi Effect’ is particularly enjoyable given that Price has written it first from the perspective of a curious outsider, secondly as a journalist and thirdly as a political strategist.
He tells the UKAsian about his experience delving into the psyche of the man that is Narendra Modi.