Nikhil Menon, assistant professor of history at University of Notre Dame, is an expert in Indian economic and political history, and Indian independence.
The BJP re-election campaign has been a presidential-style one--a relatively new phenomenon in Indian politics.
The twin planks of Mr. Modi's campaign have been Hindu nationalism and muscular national security (using the Balakot strikes air strikes against Pakistan in February). These have been highlighted in order to bypass critical scrutiny of the BJP's record on governance and the economy.
The religious majoritarianism was evident in fielding Pragya Thakur for a seat in the Parliament. Ms. Thakur is a Hindu ascetic who is under trial on terrorism charges (relating to a 2008 attack targeting Muslims). Since becoming a BJP candidate she has evinced pride in her role in the destruction of the Babri mosque in Ayodhya in 1992, an incident which led to a wave of religious violence across the country.
Recently, she also referred to Nathuram Godse, the the assassin of Mohandas Gandhi, the father of the nation, as a patriot. While Mr. Modi has distanced himself from some of her remarks, she remains a BJP candidate and may well become a BJP member of Parliament.
It is a sign of how Mr. Modi wishes to be viewed that after the conclusion of the last phase of the polling, he was photographed meditating in a Himalayan cave, with the saffron robes associated with Hindu asceticism wrapped around him. If the exit polls are to be believed, Modi's image as the incorruptible defender of the faith and nation has triumphed once again. Narendra Modi may well be leading his party into an era of electoral dominance.