BJP Member Starts Petition to Protest Time Report Calling Modi ‘India’s Divider in Chief’

NEW DELHI: A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) office-bearer has started an online petition “to protest” against a Time magazine report which calls Prime Minister Narendra Modi “India’s divider in chief”.

Ashwin Johar, a doctor-turned-politician and central committee member of Overseas Friends of Bharatiya Janta Party (OFBJP), the party’s foreign cell, started the online petition on online platform to protest an “attempt to malign Modi’s image”. The BJP, too, has slammed the report.

“In certain initiatives taken by the government, the benefit sometimes are given more to minorities. Hence, overall, there is no discrimination that the Modi government has done to Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or Christian,” Johar told ThePrint.

The petition, started Saturday, has been signed by over 3,500 people in just over 8 hours.

Johar has worked with Vijay Chauthaiwale, in-charge of BJP’s foreign affairs wing. A medical graduate from Moscow, he quit the profession in 2002 to start a business in healthcare.

The May issue of US-based Time magazine’s international edition, has featured an illustration of PM Modi on its cover page, with the headline “India’s Divider In Chief”.

The report, written by Aatish Taseer — son of late Pakistani politician and businessman Salman Taseer and Indian journalist Tavleen Singh — strongly criticises PM Modi for polarising the Indian society. It has been titled, “Can the World’s Largest Democracy Endure Another Five Years of a Modi Government?”

Taseer’s report notes, “If in 2014 he (Modi) was able to exploit differences in order to create a climate of hope, in 2019 he is asking people to stave off their desperation by living for their differences alone.”

He adds, “Not only has Modi’s economic miracle failed to materialize, he has also helped create an atmosphere of poisonous religious nationalism in India.”
Johar’s petition highlights that the “defamatory” Time report “is not only factually incorrect but it also questions the wisdom of Indian electorate who have overwhelmingly supported him in 2014 and also likely to reaffirm their faith in the leadership of Mr. Modi again in the ongoing election”.

The petition says that the author is incorrect in the majority of his arguments — on economy, development, women empowerment or the Hindu-Muslim divide.
“It appears that the only objective of this Pakistani- origin columnist is to defame Modi, defame Indian electorate and defame India,” adds the petition.

Tagging the editors of Time magazine, the petition says, “We are equally appalled by the choice of Timeeditors to make it highly derogatory column as its cover story, rather than another balanced story in the same issue of Time by Ian Bremmer which says that only- Modi is best suitable for economic reforms in India (sic).”

Bremmer, a Time columnist, has written a report in the same issue, titled “Modi Is India’s Best Hope for Economic Reforms”.

However, the petition also goes on to conclude that such reports “will have little or no effect on Indian electorate and they will elect Mr. Modi for the second term as India’s Prime Minister”.
The BJP office-bearer, who goes by the handle name ‘Chowkidar Ashwin Johar’ on Twitter, shared his petition on the social media platform.
In another tweet, Johar said the report is an attempt to create a “negative narrative” against PM Modi.
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Letter to Editor:

Aatish Failed to Capture Main Reason Why India Has Turned to Populism

Born pre-independence to a freedom fighter and growing up in India I was a proud Indian and a big fan of Nehru and Congress party. I was moderate and politically secular because as a Hindu I strongly believed that all men are born equal and need to be treated equally.

But over the years the incompetent and corrupt descendants of Nehru family have used the minorities as a vote bank by giving them undue preferences. The quota system for college admissions and Governments posts which was supposed to end once the minorities come to par is still continuing and on the rise. As a result, the brightest children of our families are having disadvantage to get admission in the elite colleges of India.

Meanwhile, the mosques are mushrooming in every nook and corner of India with foreign money pouring in from rich Muslim countries. Religion is taken precedent over nationalism. That is the reason our moderate family members back home have turned to Modi as a savior to bring normalcy back.

Prabhat C Sharma (US citizen and resident of Texas since 1974)
Houston, Texas