It has been just over a month since the first votes were cast in the largest democratic exercise on the planet: India’s general election. Prime Minister Narendra Modi wants a second term, and his party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), seems destined for victory. 

Over the past financial year, the BJP’s publicity budget has been 20 times that of the main opposition party, the Congress. That’s a lot of extra billboards, rallies and social media ads – spent to brand Modi as the leader Indians need, the antithesis to what the BJP calls the country’s weak, anti-national and anti-Hindu opposition.

Throw in a few dozen celebrity endorsements, Bollywood style, a mainstream news media whose support the BJP mostly gets for free – and it all adds

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