TIME magazine cover (File Photo)
Amidst the ongoing Lok Sabha elections, India had last week woke up to a controversial cover of the American weekly news magazine TIME, calling Prime Minister Narendra Modi the 'Divider in Chief' of the country. Busy accusing the TIME article of being 'biased' and 'spreading an agenda', people, however, have completely missed the fact that the international magazine has not spared even Rahul Gandhi, the most prominent opposition leader fighting against Modi in this election season. In fact, the attack on the Congress chief was even scathier than that on PM Modi.
Terming Rahul Gandhi an "unteachable mediocrity" and a descendant of Nehru, Aatish Taseer, the writer of the article, claimed that the Congress party has "little to offer other than the dynastic principle" and is no alternative to Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
The online version of the article, which asks the question - "Can the world's largest democracy endure another five years of Modi government?" makes the Congress responsible for the existence of "feudal dynasty", which, according to Taseer, was somehow behind the rise of Modi, a mark of populism in the country.
Quite interestingly, the TIME piece has accused the Nehru-Gandhi clan of the very things PM Modi has been accusing them of for the last five years.
Under the Congress rule, Taseer said, India was "clubbish, anglicized and fearful of the rabble at the gates" and had been seen to be ruled by an English-speaking "deracinated" Hindu elite that was in "cahoots" with minorities such as Christianity and Islam.
While the TIME exclusive came down heavily on the Modi dispensation on a wide range of issues, including those of women, it has simultaneously dismissed the idea of replacing the BJP government with that of Congress.
Giving some significant reasons for ruling the Congress out, Taseer said it lacks "political imagination", something that is demonstrated by the party choosing to bring Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, Rahul Gandhi's sister, into India's political arena".
"Modi is lucky to be blessed with so weak an opposition, a ragtag coalition of parties, with no agenda other than to defeat him," he added.
Though Taseer, son of Indian journalist Tavleen Singh and late Pakistani politician and businessman Salmaan Taseer, pointed towards a possibility of BJP's victory in 2019 General Elections, he also made it confirm that Modi will never again represent the myriad dreams and aspirations of 2014.
At that time, Modi "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," he reiterated.
The American magazine's May 20, 2019 international editions - the Europe, Middle East and Africa, Asia and South Pacific - feature the Modi cover story with the main headline "India's Divider in Chief" while the US edition has a cover story on Democrat Elizabeth Warren who is running for the White House in 2020.