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India election

Modi whips up nationalist sentiment in final election phases

Indian leader cranks up security rhetoric while avoiding economic issues

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi waves towards his supporters during a roadshow in Varanasi, India on April 25.   © Reuters

NEW DELHI -- As India's 39-day general election enters its final phases, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is ramping up rhetoric around national security in his high-octane campaigns and brushing aside doubts over the credibility of the government's economic data.

"This chowkidar (watchman) will serve you round the clock," Modi said on Wednesday, addressing a huge rally of supporters for his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party in New Delhi's neighboring Haryana state and referring to himself as the watchman of the country.

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