Narendra Modi Wins Historic Third Term

His rise is about more than Hindu nationalism. But Hindutva may lead to his fall.

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Narendra Modi with Yogi Adityanath in Varanasi on May 13, 2024 (SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP via Getty Images)

Hassaan Bin Sabir


June 4, 2024


7 min

“There’s nothing in the world more powerful than a good story,” Tyrion Lannister says in Game of Thrones. “Nothing can stop it. No enemy can defeat it. And who has a better story than Bran the Broken? The boy who fell from a high tower and lived.” And so Tyrion Lannister makes the case for Bran to rule over the Seven Kingdoms. He succeeds. 

In Indian politics over the last decade, few can lay claim to a better story than Narendra Modi. As a child, Modi famously sold tea at a train station. As an adult, he rose through political ranks to become Gujarat’s longest-serving chief minister and then, in 2014, India’s prime minister. Today, he becomes the second leader in Indian history after Jawaharlal Nehru to win three straight terms as the country’s leader. (India’s prime ministership has no term limits.)

Though it will inevitably add to Modi’s legend, this election victory may prove to be pyrrhic. His Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has lost at least 44 seats, leaving Modi in an unfamiliar position, namely weak and needing to form a coalition. As Game of Thrones tells us, stories — both personal and ideological — matter. Few know this better than Modi himself.

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