Power during a pandemic will remain with those who can survive not just the virus but also the spread of an opposing narrative.
India Today Magazine issue
A pandemic has the potential to make political power all-pervasive or be the portent for a new order. But in India, curiously, Covid-19 has added to the political capital of both the ruling BJP and the opposition.
The country has more cases than any other, except the USA, and the government has taken flak for imposing a harsh lockdown that broke the economy; conversely, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ratings are at an all-time high and he is still regarded as a national saviour by many.
Among Modi’s detractors, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has become the opposition bellwether, at times the only voice which seems to challenge the PM.
In the states, Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath has emerged as the poster boy of Hindu nationalism and tough governance while in Bengal, the mother of all electoral battles awaits as the BJP’s famed election machinery takes on the maverick Mamata Banerjee.
One thing is for sure, power during a pandemic will remain with those who can survive not just the virus but also the spread of an opposing narrative.