'The Economist' Cover Marks End Of Modi's Love Affair With Western Liberal Media

Akshita Jain
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is currently grappling with an economic crisis, protests against the CAA; as well as foreign media disenchantment with his rule.

When Prime Minister Narendra Modi first came to power in 2014, international media platforms published long articles where they acknowledged his controversial past but expressed the hope that he would prioritise growth and be wise enough not to be distracted by the Hindu nationalist agenda (see herehere and here). In his first term, as Modi went on long global tours to meet world leaders, western liberal media outlets such as Time and The Economist were generally optimistic that the “global political star” would put the 2002 Gujarat riots and the BJP’s divisive politics behind him.      

A lot has changed since then—currently in his second term with an even bigger majority, Modi is grappling with an economic crisis that experts say originated from policies such as demonetisation; protests against his government’s attempts to threaten the citizenship of Muslims; as well as foreign media’s disenchantment with his rule.

While Time called him “India’s Divider In Chief” ahead of the Lok Sabha elections last year, The Economist’s latest cover story says Modi is stoking “divisions in the world’s biggest democracy”.

The Economist tweeted the story on Thursday with the caption, “How India’s prime minister and his party are endangering the world’s biggest democracy”. Discussing the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), whose passage in the Parliament has triggered widespread protests, the story said “the scheme looks like the most ambitious step yet in a decades-long project of incitement”.  

The story (The Economist’s articles do not have bylines) pointed out how the unrest may actually politically benefit Modi and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). 

“The sad truth is that Mr Modi and the BJP are likely to benefit...

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