Worried of dent in image abroad, Modi govt criticises newspaper editorial on Yogi

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The Centre’s Narendra Modi government has described as “questionable” an editorial in The New York Times criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s choice of Yogi Adityanath as Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh.

“All editorials or opinions are subjective. This case is particularly so and the wisdom in doubting the verdicts of genuine democratic exercises is quite questionable, both at home and abroad,” External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Gopal Baglay said in response to a question.

न्यूयार्क टाइम्स

The NYT editorial titled “Modi’s Perilous Embrace of Hindu Extremists” had said that since he came to power in 2014, PM Modi “has played a cagey game, appeasing his party’s hardline Hindu base while promoting secular goals of development and economic growth”.

Calling Yogi Adityanath a “firebrand Hindu cleric”, the editorial said the move to name the 44-year-old as Uttar Pradesh’s chief minister is a “shocking rebuke to religious minorities”.

The editorial had said, “On Sunday, Mr. Modi revealed his hand. Emboldened by a landslide victory in recent elections in India’s largest state, Uttar Pradesh, his party named a firebrand Hindu cleric, Yogi Adityanath, as the state’s leader. The move is a shocking rebuke to religious minorities, and a sign that cold political calculations ahead of national elections in 2019 have led Mr. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party to believe that nothing stands in the way of realizing its long-held dream of transforming a secular republic into a Hindu state.”

In his Facebook Live on the day Yogi was chosen to become the Uttar Pradesh chief minister by the BJP, Janta Ka Reporter’s editor-in-chief, Rifat Jawaid, was the first journalist to conclude that the decision had unmasked Modi by exposing his hollow agenda of development. (Watch the video below)

Making the similar assertion, the NYT’s editorial said, “But the appointment shows that Mr. Modi sees no contradiction between economic development and a muscular Hindu nationalism that feeds on stoking anti-Muslim passions. Mr. Modi’s economic policies have delivered growth, but not jobs. India needs to generate a million new jobs every month to meet employment demand. Should Mr. Adityanath fail to deliver, there is every fear that he — and Mr. Modi’s party — will resort to deadly Muslim-baiting to stay in power, turning Mr. Modi’s dreamland into a nightmare for India’s minorities, and threatening the progress that Mr. Modi has promised to all of its citizens.”

(Additional inputs from PTI)

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