Subcontinental Divide

Every politician figures a surefire way to win elections is to aim low. India's politicians are no different. In the world's largest democracy, candidates have traditionally scored at the polls by conducting fist-pounding, us-versus-them campaigns grounded on issues that stir the emotions: caste, religion, patriotism or Pakistan. Or so it was until last week, when the race began for general elections that are expected to be held by mid-May. This year, the hot issue is one that used to elicit yawns: it's the economy, stupid.

What's changed? What used to be known as "the Indian rate of growth,"...

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