Pratap Bhanu Mehta in Indian Express:
All our normal categories of political analysis and statistical jugglery come to nought when they are faced with Narendra Modi. This is because, he more than any politician in modern history, has grasped three things. First, he is the purest distillation of the idea of politics. For him political reality is not given, it is created; while other parties twiddle thumbs trying to get sociological arithmetic right, he goes about the task of producing a total identification with his persona. And he deploys undefeatable energy to do so. Second, he has fully grasped the potential of a dangerous idea in democracy: That even evil that has a whiff of a larger cause about it has the power to move more than civility that is tainted with pettiness. And third, and most importantly, he has crafted a way of being everywhere: He managed to colonise our imaginations, our fantasies, hopes and fears, to the point where even resistance to him seemed to be entirely in his thrall. Has there been any other figure in the annals of democratic politics who makes you think about him almost every second of your existence? He can literally make himself the object of attention every second of public discourse. Many leaders win because the public does not see an alternative. Modi won because he made an alternative unthinkable.
It is difficult to argue with the claim that the opposition did not, in any way merit victory. In these times, civility is a rare commodity and the Congress can be granted that. It is also easy to blame control of institutions, media and money for the BJP’s electoral firepower. Some of that is true, but to attribute the BJP’s victory to that would be to deny political reality. Even in a moment of grave national crisis, the Opposition’s inability to come together was above all, evidence of their pettiness and myopia. Even when the Congress knew that the battering ram Modi was using against the Congress was that Congress was dynastic and corrupt, Congress could not change the face of its leadership. Modi relentlessly campaigned that all of India’s other parties — from SP and BSP, to the Congress — are corrupt family enterprises. He was the scimitar, slashing away at the old order, which was still holding India back
Modi deserves his victory. But this is also a moment of dread for Indian democracy.