As India’s president-elect Narendra Modi prepares to take over, he has already become a leader whose influence on his nation’s governance is unprecedented.
The fact that Modi, a Hindu nationalist, is a man of his word speaks volumes for the kind of man he is.
He is a Hindu, a populist nationalist and a politician who is a polarising figure who, at least from the outside, has managed to build a populist, nationalist base.
His election as prime minister, he is said to have said in a televised address to his party members, was to take India back to its pre-Independence days, a point he repeated in the wake of the attacks in Delhi.
His victory was not without risks.
While many voters chose to vote for Modi on his promises to curb corruption, there were fears that his aggressive stance on Kashmir, the disputed territory between India and Pakistan, could hurt the country’s fragile peace.
Modi has also been accused of pushing India’s ruling Congress party in a hard-right direction and his approval ratings have plunged.
As a result, his political opponents, such as opposition leader Shashi Tharoor, have sought to capitalize on the uncertainty.
They are trying to make Modi the face of Indian democracy, and by doing so, are putting him at odds with the country.
A key test for Modi is whether he can put the nation’s economy on a sustainable footing, which will help it attract foreign investors, boost its foreign currency reserves and raise its stock market index.
Modi, who was elected on a promise to create a “Modi Model” for India’s future, has set a bold target to increase economic growth to 7.5% from 5.3% in 2020, according to the latest government figures.
India’s GDP is forecast to grow by 7.3%, the second-highest in the world, by 2023.
For the past decade, Modi has presided over a slow-moving economic recovery that has led to growing inflation and joblessness.
But his administration has struggled to put an end to the countrys crippling power shortages and a soaring cost of living.
He has also faced criticism for his treatment of his party, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which is dominated by Hindu nationalists and is seen as hostile to minorities.
This week, the country faced its biggest crisis in its history, when two bombs exploded near a train station in the northern city of Ahmedabad, killing at least 25 people and injuring more than 50.
Many blamed Modi, and the ruling Congress Party, for failing to stop the attacks.
Although the BJP has not claimed responsibility for the blasts, its leader Manohar Lal Khattar said the attacks were “an act of terrorism”.
Many Indians were deeply upset at the attacks and angry that their government failed to act on them, said Vinay Shrestha, an analyst at the Observer Research Foundation, a think tank.
What Modi is now doing is putting his own people in charge of the country, he said.
In a speech to his supporters, Modi said his government would continue to fight corruption, tackle corruption, improve the governance of the state and combat terrorism.
“Modi’s mandate as the prime minister of India will be fulfilled,” he said, “as long as we fight against corruption and make the country a shining city, as long as there is peace, as soon as the people have a job.”
He added: “We must take on the terrorists.”
But the Indian state is struggling to deal with the fallout from the attacks, which have rocked its economy and killed at least 10 people.
According to the India Securities Exchange, the government has recorded a net loss of Rs 4.5 trillion ($61 billion) in the last three months of the Modi government, more than double the Rs 2.9 trillion recorded in the previous year.
And as India grapples with the economic fallout, its parliament has passed a bill to impose a two-year ban on the sale of foreign direct investment (FDI) to India, which is the world’s second-biggest FDI market after the United States.
FDI has played a central role in India’s economy for decades, but the country has been a net exporter of FDI in recent years.
But while FDI has been rising, it is also a boon to India’s struggling state-run banks, which are facing a severe financial crunch.