Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been featured on the cover page of American news magazine TIME for its May 20, 2019 edition. Titled ‘India’s divider in chief,’ the cover carries a caricature of Modi. In the cover story “Can the World’s Largest Democracy Endure Another Five Years of a Modi Government?” journalist Aatish Taseer talks about rising populism in democracies like Turkey, Brazil, Britain, the US and India.
The article opens with the sentence: “Of the great democracies to fall to populism, India was the first.” Under Prime Minister Modi, the story read, “nation’s most basic norms, such as the character of the Indian state, its founding fathers, the place of minorities and its institutions, from universities to corporate houses to the media, were shown to be severely distrusted.”
“…Under Modi, minorities of every stripe – from liberals and lower castes to Muslims and Christians – have come under assault,” it reads. Talking about the economic promises made by Modi in 2014 elections, the writer says, “Not only has Modi’s economic miracle failed to materialise, he has also helped create an atmosphere of poisonous religious nationalism in India.”
The author also adds that Modi is ” lucky to be blessed with so weak an opposition–a ragtag coalition of parties, led by the Congress, with no agenda other than to defeat him.” “Modi will never again represent the myriad dreams and aspirations of 2014. Then he was a messiah, ushering in a future too bright to behold, one part Hindu renaissance, one part South Korea’s economic program. Now he is merely a politician who has failed to deliver, seeking re-election. Whatever else might be said about the election, hope is off the menu,” the write-up reads.
In 2015, Modi had appeared on TIME cover when the magazine had done an exclusive interview with him after he became the Prime Minister. He also featured on the magazine cover in 2012, when he was the Gujarat chief minister.