All of the comparisons of the BJP to the GOP and our next PM Narendra Modi to Ronald Reagan are flawed. Here are just two reasons why:
A. The religious aspect
If you look at what ‘secularism’ means in India(1), you will notice that it really means a politically motivated ‘minority appeasement’. Muslims are given subsidies to travel to Mecca, their own laws and ‘reservations’ in jobs whereas Hindus get nothing. In fact, temples are controlled by the government (2), that sets salaries as low as Rs. 8000($130)/month for priests (3). Mosques and Churches are untouched by the government, who fear a minority backlash. Hindus think that minorities are being given preference by a ‘secular’ government. Rarely will a Hindu say that his religion is being attacked by the government. He will say that the government is being unconstitutional. Compare that to a conservative Republican who thinks that government is attacking Christianity and actively wants the bible to be taught in public schools as science.
B. The socio-economic aspect
While Republicans practice trickle down economics and do not believe in government ‘handouts’ to the working poor, or bolstering education, Modi has actively promoted education as a means to eradicate poverty (4). His party is also making removal of ‘absolute poverty’ a top priority (5). Albeit, yes, Modi’s own state has not fared well in alleviating poverty. But that has been argued to be a result of poor migrants entering his home state.