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Bite-Sized Books, 2021

The idea that Narendra Modi provided the template for Donald Trump and Boris Johnson to seize power may sound absurd. What can the prime minister of a developing country, and leader of a hard right Hindu party, teach two leaders of first world, long-established democracies?

Mihir Bose’s book, Narendra Modi – the yogi of populism, addresses and answers that question decisively. Modi’s playbook for winning elections in the world’s largest democracy has provided a model for both Trump and Johnson. In Modi’s template, power is won by convincing enough people they have lost their country and need to do something radical in order to regain it. This argument is so emotive that it can galvanise people even when completely without merit.


Contrary to the pollsters’ predictions and the views of India’s chattering classes, Modi’s success in the Indian general elections of 2014 saw his Bharatiya Janata Party sweep to victory with a two-thirds majority. This is an important and challenging analysis which informs the global political debate and provides real insights into how Trump and Johnson gained power.

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