Shefali Bohra was an excited first-time voter when she cast her vote for the Bharatiya Janata Party during the Lok Sabha election in 2014. The 24-year-old MBA graduate from Mumbai comes from a family that often discusses news and politics at home, and from the information she had gathered, the Congress-led coalition government at the Centre had “done nothing” during its ten years in power.

Narendra Modi, however, was another matter. As the BJP’s sole prime ministerial candidate, Modi had run aggressive pre-election media and social media campaigns that Bohra and other young Indian citizens had completely bought into. “We all had a feeling that something new and different was going to happen in India, unlike the previous government which was just stagnating,” said Bohra.

Nearly two years after the PM of her choice came to power, Bohra is optimistic, patient and more than satisfied with the current state of affairs in the country. “The very day after Modi won the election, I noticed dustbins put up everywhere in Mumbai,” said Bohra, who believes the city has become cleaner after Modi assumed the prime minister’s chair. “This is an immediate effect of him being in power, and people have actually maintained this cleanliness.”

‘Inspired to launch my own start-up’

A major aspect of the Modi-effect, says Bohra, is that “everything becomes a controversy” today.

“When the Congress was in power, things were rather quiet. But anything Modi says or does blows up into a controversy – people don’t understand that at least he’s doing something,” said Bohra. “I think a lot of people were expecting drastic improvements in the economy and GDP because of the promises Modi made, but that kind of change is not possible overnight. They need to focus on the fact that things have already started changing on the ground.”

What are the ground-level changes the Modi government has achieved? Bohra has a range of services on her mind: “Cleanliness, as I said, has improved in the city. Even the Mumbai local trains are on time now and are safer than before. The height of train platforms is also being raised to prevent accidents. Modi is definitely working hard.”

The most exciting Modi government initiative, for Bohra, has been “Start-up India” week, where the Centre offered tax exemptions to start-ups for the first three years of a new venture. “This has inspired me to think of launching my own start-up – a playschool,” said Bohra, who is passionate about teaching toddlers and works as a home tutor. “Most people don’t start their own companies because they have a problem of capital, and this should solve that problem.”

‘Speaking against the nation is a big thing’

For a self-avowed politics enthusiast, however, Bohra’s knowledge of the latest and most controversial events in the past year is rather limited. All she knows about the Jawaharlal Nehru University protests, for instance, comes from a television news video she stumbled upon on a phone application.

“The video showed Umar – is that his name? – shouting slogans against a soldier who sacrificed his life for India. Umar was laughing without remorse,” said Bohra, who claims she “already doesn’t like” the JNU student because of the video. “Why should students say such things when India – taxpayers like me – are paying for your studies?”

Bohra was not familiar with the word “sedition”, but was clear about which side of the “anti-national” debate she stands on. “Speaking against another religion is secondary, but the nation is a very big thing. People who speak against it should be arrested.”

On the beef ban controversy, she has a more tempered view: people should be allowed to eat whatever they want. “Before beef was banned in different parts of the country, it was not such a major issue. But now it has been hyped up too much and even those who didn’t eat much beef before want to lay their hands on it,”

‘He has a style statement’

What does Bohra think about Modi’s frequent international travels that have drawn criticism from his opponents? “Well, he definitely has been travelling too much, but he is doing it for the country,” said Bohra. “I’ve heard that he does budget travelling. Besides, people internationally are talking about India because of his travels.”

But at the end of the day, Bohra admits, a large part of being a supporter of the current Prime Minister is Modi’s charisma as a personality.

“The way he gives his speeches – even those who don’t like him cannot help listening to him talk,” said Bohra, pointing out that the previous prime minister, Manmohan Singh, “never really spoke”.

“Modi is also very fashionable – he plays with vibrant colours when it comes to clothes,” she said. “He has grabbed the attention of the youth because he has a style statement – he is never dull.”

This is part of a series on what young Modi voters feel about the government two years into its term. You can read the first part here.