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Modi’s Popularity Soars as India Weathers the Pandemic

NEW DELHI — Just before the coronavirus arrived in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi faced serious challenges, perhaps the biggest of his tenure.

Antigovernment protests roiled the country. Hindu-Muslim riots exploded in the capital just as President Trump was visiting. And India’s once-hot economy was slumping, shedding millions of jobs and casting a pall over the entire country.

Since then, as the world has been walloped by the coronavirus pandemic, many of these problems in India, especially the economic ones, have only gotten worse. But once again, India has rallied around Mr. Modi.

Recent opinion polls show that in the past few months Mr. Modi’s already high approval ratings have soared even higher, touching 80, even 90 percent. Unlike two of the populist leaders to whom he is often compared, President Trump and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, Mr. Modi seems to be thriving in this crisis.

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