Narendra Modi’s spectacular victory over Congress in the 2014 Indian general elections was made possible by many factors. However, the main and overarching cause of Modi’s victory was the process which, starting in 2009 with the backing of the Indian corporate sector, built up the image of Modi as a kind of fearless and unblemished hero who, having raised his home state, Gujarat, to an extraordinary level of economic development, was now in a position to replicate the same feat at the all-India level. ‘Modi’s legend’ first conquered the middle class’ imagination and, then, was spread among the masses and, transversally, among first-time voters by that same middle class, with the help of RSS volunteers. Thus, a juggernaut was created and deployed with devastating effects, not only against Congress but, as shown by the cases of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar, against some of India’s strongest regional parties.
Keywords: Indian general elections, Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi, UP elections, Bihar elections