Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi might be on a home run in the Lok Sabha elections here, but across the world the 2002 Gujarat riots still cast a long shadow on him and his acceptance. For the international media he is still a ‘divisive man’ and a ‘hard liner’.
Here is a compilation of recent pieces on Narendra Modi in top internation publications:
Mr. Modi, however, may be as repellent to India’s Muslims and secular liberals as he is attractive to the business community. A lifelong member of a quasi-martial Hindu nationalist movement, he is reviled by human rights groups for his behavior during and after anti-Muslim riots in Gujarat in 2002, in which more than 1,000 people died. Critics say Mr. Modi at best did nothing to stop the violence, then exploited anti-Muslim feeling in an election campaign.
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Excerpt from India’s Narendra Modi should build on his successes, not his prejudicial rhetoric in The Washington Post on April 8
Modi bears a responsibility for some of the worst religious violence ever seen in independent India – but there’s nothing like looking like a winner to attract apologists. And the standard apology for Modi comes in two parts. First, there is normally an acknowledgement that the chief minister of Gujarat bears some vague responsibility for the orgy of killing and rape that engulfed his state in 2002 – but, um, wasn’t that all a long time ago? And hasn’t he behaved himself since – or, as the FT put it yesterday, done his best to “downplay tensions” between Hindus and Muslims?
Excerpt from Narendra Modi, a man with a massacre on his hands, is not the reasonable choice for India in The Guardian on April 7
By refusing to put Muslim fears to rest, Mr Modi feeds them. By clinging to the anti-Muslim vote, he nurtures it. India at its finest is a joyous cacophony of peoples and faiths, of holy men and rebels. The best of them, such as the late columnist Khushwant Singh (see article) are painfully aware of the damage caused by communal hatred. Mr Modi might start well in Delhi but sooner or later he will have to cope with a sectarian slaughter or a crisis with Pakistan—and nobody, least of all the modernisers praising him now, knows what he will do nor how Muslims, in turn, will react to such a divisive man.
Excerpt from Can anyone stop Narendra Modi? in The Economist on April 5
“I am known to be a Hindu-nationalist leader,” Mr. Modi said in one of his first speeches after becoming the prime ministerial candidate for the Bharatiya Janata Party, or BJP. But “my real thought is toilets first, temples later.” That message has resonated with voters….Mr. Modi’s critics say his hard-line affiliations make him unfit to lead a large, profoundly diverse country such as India.
Excerpt from Indian Hard-Liner Narendra Modi Leads in Prime Minister Race in the Wall Street Journal on April 4