It is obvious that the ensuing elections in five states will be an excellent mid-term appraisal of Narendra Modi’s tenure. The interest in their outcome will be all the greater because the Prime Minister hasn’t had it all in his own way as may have been expected after his resounding victory in 2014. Except for the BJP’s success in Assam last year, Modi’s appeal as the “vikas purush” or the man of development hasn’t worked anywhere else up till now. In 2015, the BJP was badly trounced by a fledgling party in Delhi and comprehensively beaten by a motley coalition in Bihar. Its sole success in the following year in Assam — accompanied by defeats in West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry — was over an aging Chief Minister and his tired Congress party. There was little doubt at that stage that the wind of popular expectations which swept Modi to power at the Centre had dissipated. His indifferent performances might have continued this year, too, if providence had not intervened in the form of undermining the chances of the ruling SP in UP.