NEW DELHI: American news magazine Time has featured Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the cover of its May 20 international edition with a headline that may create controversy across India amid the election season.
The headline in the cover reads "India's Divider in Chief" and carries a portrait of the Prime Minister. A secondary headline on the cover reads "Modi the Reformer."
The title "India's Divider in Chief" pertains to the cover story in the magazine, written by Aatish Taseer, with the headline "Can the World's Largest Democracy Endure Another Five Years of a Modi Government?"
The write up compares former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's idea of secularism with the prevailing social "stress" under Modi, who "demonstrated no desire to foster brotherly feelings between Hindus and Muslims," as per the article.
Besides, the article also recalls the 2002 Gujarat riots that claimed many lives.
The entire article is based on Hindu-Muslim relations and blames Modi for being pro-Hindu.
This is not the first time that Time has come out with critical commentary about Modi. In an article published in 2012, the magazine had described Modi as a controversial, ambitious and a shrewd politician.
The article written by Aatish Taseer also criticises the Congress, saying that it has little to offer other than dynastic politics, and termed Modi "lucky" as the opposition is "weak".
"Modi has won -- and may yet win again -- but to what end? His brand of populism has certainly served as a convincing critique of Indian society, of which there could be no better symbol than the Congress Party. They have little to offer other than the dynastic principle, yet another member of the Nehru-Gandhi family.
"India's oldest party has no more political imagination than to send Priyanka Gandhi -- Rahul's sister -- to join her brother's side. It would be the equivalent of the Democrat's fielding Hillary Clinton again in 2020, with the added enticement of Chelsea as VP," the article read.
"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," it added.
Reacting to the article, the Congress said that it was not surprised as under Modi's reign, India has seen ugly instances of mob lynching against the minorities, while there has been a conspicuous silence from his party, the BJP.
"Modi in 2019 has brazenly flouted his Hindutva mission. In an unprecedented polarising speech, he talked of a Hindu minority seat in Wayanad from where Rahul Gandhi is contesting the elections.
"By fielding Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur as the BJP candidate from Bhopal, Modi was sending out a clear message that he was backing the RSS agenda of a Hindu Rashtra," Congress spokesperson Sanjay Jha told IANS.
He further said that Modi took the entire country for a ride under the subterfuge of development and this time he has bared his communal fangs and let loose a poisonous overflow in our secular society.
The All India Mahila Congress tweeted: "Sitting PM makes it to the cover of TIME Magazine and the title is 'Divider In Chief'. Of the great democracies to fall to populism, India was the first, says the opening sentence of the article. Your truth is for all to see @narendramodi."