Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the first day of Parliament's budget session. Photo: Reuters / Adnan Abidi

The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has become the most powerful Indian leader in a generation and has used his standing to take on an independent bureaucracy and implement controversial policies. Those policies include a shift in November to cancel 90% of the nation’s paper banknotes, for which he gave no advance notice. The results of local elections now underway will be released on Saturday in a test for Modi’s party, which is also the ruling party, and will be a bellwether for Modi’s reelection bid in 2019.