India deserves better than divisive Modi: Economist

BJP slams magazine for 'patronising' Rahul

India deserves better than divisive Modi: Economist

The Economist, one of the world’s most reputed current affairs magazine, has described Narendra Modi as a “divisive man” and recommended to Indians a Rahul Gandhi-led government as an “uninspiring” but “less disturbing” option.

In an article titled “Can anyone stop Narendra Modi?”, the UK-based publication ascribed its reservations about the BJP prime ministerial candidate role in the 2002 Gujarat riots, saying, "If Modi were to explain his role in the violence and show genuine remorse, we would consider backing him, but he never has.”  

Modi had also helped organise a march on a holy site at Ayodhya in 1990 which, two years later, led to the deaths of 2,000 in Hindu-Muslim clashes. 

A lifelong member of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Modi made speeches early in his career that “shamelessly” whipped up Hindus against Muslims, it noted.

“(Rahul) Gandhi’s coalition is tainted by corruption. By comparison Modi is clean. We do not find the prospect of a government led by Congress under Gandhi an inspiring one. But, we have to recommend it to Indians as the less disturbing option,” said the article, which appeared on Friday, three days before the elections are scheduled to begin.

If victory goes to the BJP, its coalition partners should hold out for a Prime Minister other than Modi, it suggested. “And if they still choose Modi. We would wish him well, and we would be delighted for him to prove us wrong by governing India in a modern, honest and fair way. But for now 

he should be judged on his record — which is that of a man who is still associated with sectarian hatred. There is nothing modern, honest or fair about that. India deserves better,” it said.

The article rejected the arguments made by Modi’s defenders “especially among the business elite” that he was given a clean chit in repeated investigation into the 2002 riots and that he was now a changed man. 

“One reason why the inquiries into the riots were inconclusive is that a great deal of evidence was lost or wilfully destroyed. And if the facts in 2002 are murky, so are Modi’s views now,” it said.

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