Calling him “India’s Divider in chief”, Time magazine’s cover story asked: “Can the World’s Largest Democracy Endure Another Five Years of a Modi Government?”
Another story in the same issue looked at Modi’s accomplishments so far, calling him India’s best hope for economic reform.
With the biggest elections in the world underway in India, the cover became a flashpoint for social media debate.
“Now the whole world knows”
Many social media users commented that the magazine cover was proof that the world was now aware of the rise in communal disharmony in the country.
Tweep @raakeshchavan wrote: “Looks like even Time Magazine has the same views. Now the whole world knows that we have a divisive PM in @narendramodi”
Another Twitter user @IndiaAfzal added: “Very true. PM Modi has been nothing but ‘India’s Divider in Chief’. His divisive politics has damaged the social fabric of the country very severely.”
Others shared an old Time magazine cover in which Modi appeared from 2015, with the headline: “Why Modi matters”
Tweep @anchalsingh30 also shared a picture of the two covers side-by-side, adding: “All bhakts [Modi supporters] who shared news of Modi receiving international awards should also share this news of #Modi being called Divider in Chief by #TIME magazine #BJP”
Other social media users, however, questioned the changing stance of the magazine and put their complete support behind the Prime Minister. Many pointed towards the development projects that had been launched in the past five years.
Tweep @vamanan81 wrote: “Prime Minister Modi treats every citizen of India in the same way. He does not divide them on the basis of their religion. Your view that he is a divider is based on your perversity. It is far from the truth. But one cannot expect devotion to truth from you.”
Another Twitter account @AmWithModi tweeted: “Yes. In today’s corrupt world it’s difficult to ‘endure’ our incorruptible PM, the Messiah for the poor. Endless development works done – railway tracks in remote areas, bank accounts, life insurance, free houses, medical facilities for the poor etc.
Tweep @rama1966 added: “Yes, @narendramodi has divided nepotism from governance, has divided inefficiency from deliverance, has divided corruption from government deals. India’s democracy can take care of itself. We don’t have to endure but will embrace, engage and enjoy another five years of Modi government.”