It’s a referendum on Modi in a way, because
oddly enough, he seems to have—in his sort of desire to project himself, he has not just
burned everybody else, but even his own party. So in many places, there are people who are
standing for elections who say—who people don’t even know, because they just say,
“Never mind who the local person you are voting for is; it’s a vote for Modi.” Now what does Modi stand for? Of course the core of him is the far-right,
Hindu nationalist core. And that core group will remain with him. But in the 2014 elections, he had added another
layer, which was the layer of “I am the development prime minister.” The slogan in Hindi was … “development with everybody and for everybody.” So a lot of people sort of forgot about his
somewhat gruesome past and voted in the hope that he was going to move India forward economically. And that never happened. He shot the tires off that moving car with
demonetization and this tax that you mentioned. So likely, he is going to lose that second
layer that he had put on, the fur coat that he had put on, the business suit that he had
put on for the previous elections. And now he is just campaigning brazenly on
Hindu nationalism, on national security, on terrorism and all of that. So he is likely going to rally his base but
lose the support that actually brought him into power last time. Can you explain, Arundhati, his main rival,
Rahul Gandhi? Last night when you spoke at the Apollo Theater,
you said that even though you had previously been very critical of the Congress party,
you have been impressed with Rahul Gandhi and his campaigning in this election. So could you explain what he stands for, what
the Congress party is proposing, and why you think he may actually beat Narendra Modi? OK, so this is not true that Rahul Gandhi
is the main rival. Rahul Gandhi is surely being—I mean, the
Congress party is the only other sort of national party, but in fact what has happened is very
interesting because the BJP and the Hindu nationalists have the centrifugal force that’s
rallying around Modi, and the force that’s against him is actually dispersing into a
kind of federalism. So what is likely to happen is that the Congress
will be the glue that holds together a whole lot of regional political parties, who are
the ones—especially in let’s say UP, in the biggest, most populous state in India,
Uttar Pradesh, which sends most members to Parliament, which would be crucial for any
party to win, the Congress has no presence—literally no presence in UP. It will be regional political parties which
will actually eventually defeat Modi and then there will be a coalition which will be held
together by the Congress. But Rahul Gandhi, of course as you said, he
comes from the Gandhi family. And the Congress is a party that I myself
have written against, when they were in power. Rahul Gandhi was a very sorry figure in the
2014 elections. But I have been very impressed by how—he
didn’t really have power. He was not the secretary of the party at the
time. Now he is the secretary of the party. And yes, he comes from a kind of entitled
political dynasty, but— Explain who he comes from. Well, he is the grandson of Indira Gandhi,
who was the daughter of Jawaharlal Nehru. So it is a long line of very—I mean, the
founders of modern Indian politics in some ways.