Patel stir poses big challenge for Modi: NYT

Washington: Ongoing protests by Patels, “a relatively prosperous caste in India” seeking reservations, pose a big challenge to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s plans for reforms and signifies that India isn’t creating enough jobs, according to the New York Times.

The protests “highlight a major problem: India isn’t creating enough good jobs,” said the influential daily dubbing them as “India’s Middle-Class Revolt” in an editorial published Tuesday. “This is a big challenge to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has built his political career on promises to reform and modernize the stalled economy,” it said.

“The fact that 500,000 Patels, who have been a big part of Mr. Modi’s electoral base, attended a rally late last month to press their demands is a rebuke of the prime minister’s economic policies,” the Times said.

“With half of India’s 1.2 billion people 25 or younger, the need to create more jobs is acute,” it said.

“It should come as no surprise that young Indians, especially those in the middle class like the Patels, are frustrated.”

“Before last year’s election, Mr. Modi promised to create jobs by applying policies he had used to spur the Gujarat economy,” the Times said.

“So far, he has not been able to change many laws at the national level,” it said.

“And the protests in his home state raise serious questions about how successful his policies were for the average resident of Gujarat.”

“Mr. Modi now has less than four years before the next national parliamentary election to make good on his campaign pledge,” the US daily said.

“If he doesn’t show results soon, the young electorate that swept him into national office could just as easily vote him out,” it warned.