Some British acquaintances were asking about Indian politics and Narendra Modi. I told them my opinion of him is strongly biased (I abhor him), but I struggled to come up with the correct, unbiased term to describe him.
It’s not controversial, extremist, illiberal or nationalist. Divisive is close, but that’s not it either.
The correct term to describe him, in my opinion, is polarising.
People who know anything about him may not agree on any of those previous terms. However, most people who know anything about him – supporters or opponents** – will agree on this one term: he is polarising.
** For another leader, the options here would be – supporters, opponents, or neutrals. No neutrals around Narendra Modi. Modi doesn’t leave room for neutrality. Neutrality is the anti-thesis for the politicians of his kind. A polarised electorate votes on emotion, which is easier to sway. A neutral voter votes on policies and actions – they are harder to achieve.