The BJP, confident of emerging as the single-largest party under the leadership of its prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, on Friday took exception to a report published in The Economist that describes Mr. Modi as a “divisive man.”
The respected foreign magazine recommended that Indians pick Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi instead.
Reacting sharply to the report “Can anyone stop Narendra Modi?,” which claims “Mr. Modi had helped organise a march on the holy site at Ayodhya in 1990 which, two years later, led to the deaths of 2,000 in Hindu-Muslim clashes,” the BJP dismissed the report as far from reality.
Party spokesperson Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said: “Let them write what they want to. They don’t know the ground realities. The country is fed up of Congress rule and people want a Congress-free India and good governance under Mr. Modi.”
Party leaders Arun Jaitley and Nirmala Sitharaman tweeted their views, debunking the report. “What a let-down, The Economist lacks objectivity and is patronising,” Ms. Sitharaman said. “Thankfully, The Economist does not vote. Indians do,” was Mr. Jaitley’s comment.
The article, which generated a lot of debate in social media and outside, portrayed Mr. Modi as anti-Muslim. “By refusing to put Muslim fears to rest, Mr. Modi feeds them. By clinging to the anti-Muslim vote, he nurtures it,” The Economist said.