BJP leaders condemn TIME magazine's portrayal of Modi as divider

Condemning a TIME magazine article which described Prime Minister Narendra Modi as 'divider in chief', BJP leaders in Telangana Friday said the prime minister in reality is a "unifier, integrator and harmoniser".

"The press conference is to condemn the article written by a UK citizen, a Pakistani Muslim, on Narendra Modi," Karuna Gopal, BJP national manifesto sub-committee member, told reporters here.

BJP takes serious objection to the portrayal of Modi as a "divider" and "communal bigot", she said.

A nation-wide protest is being launched against the magazine and the author of the article, she said.

The article distorted facts and presented "lopsided, skewed information about India, its development parameters, Narendra Modi's focus," she said.

The timing of the article is totally objectionable, she added. "Don't you think this article is going to influence the electoral outcome?" she said.

Modi is not a divider and is, in fact, a "unifier, harmoniser and an integrator," Gopal said.

She said Modi visited northeastern states 30 times in four-and-half years and transformed the region with transportation (airports, rail and bridges), telecom and tourism plans.

The Modi government's schemes, such as Jan Dhan Yojana, 'Ujwala', 'MUDRA' and 'Swachh Bharat', benefited all sections of society, including Muslims, Christians and backward sections, she said.

"How dare this author label the Honourable Prime Minister of the country, the largest democracy of the world, a bigot and a communal bigot that too?," she said.

"If you see this (development work), can anyone believe the Prime Minister is one (a bigot)? No one can question the intention behind all his development schemes. He is empowering every person in the country," she said.

If Modi is a communal bigot, then why would Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates honour him with civilian awards, she asked. "Why would countries like America and France accept him wholeheartedly?"

"So, Muslims have accepted him internationally. Christians have accepted him. It is just one or two journalists who have written a completely negative article at the time of elections to influence its outcome with malafide intentions," she said.

Gopal said protests would be taken up on the article and that she herself plans to file a PIL in the Supreme Court.

At the press meet, Gopal and her colleagues held copies of the TIME magazine and tore the portion of the cover page which had the "divider" word on it.

They displayed placards saying Modi is a "unifier, integrator and harmoniser".

Replying to a query, Gopal said: "If you see the leaning, you would certainly believe our opposition... it is an opposition triggered article..."

A previous article on Modi in the same magazine had facts and figures, she said.