Washington: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra
Modi may pose a challenge to Congress`s young scion Rahul
Gandhi in India`s next parliamentary elections, Time magazine
Modi, who figured on the cover page of the latest issues
of the Asia edition of the prestigious magazine, which hit the
stands yesterday could put up a challenge to Gandhi in
particular after the recently held Uttar Pradesh assembly
elections, where Congress fared poorly.
"With two years left before the next national election in
2014, Congress hopes its young scion, Sonia`s son Rahul, will
refresh the party, but a resounding loss in a recent state
election makes him look vulnerable," Time said.
"Modi Means Business. But can he lead India?" says the
headline on the coverage which has a blown up picture of a
serious looking bearded Modi who has ruled Gujarat for more
than a decade now.
"Modi, 61, is perhaps the only contender with the track
record and name recognition to challenge Rahul Gandhi," says
the cover story by Jyoti Thottam, which includes an interview
"Many Indians recoil at any mention of a man whose name
is indelibly linked to Gujarat`s brutality of 2002; choosing
him as India`s leader would seem a rejection of the country`s
tradition of political secularism and a sure path to increased
tension with Muslim Pakistan, where he is reviled," it says.
"But when others think of someone who can bring India out
of the mire of chronic corruption and inefficiency ? of a
firm, no-nonsense leader who will set the nation on a course
of development that might finally put it on par with China ?
they think of Modi," Time says.
The cover story highlights the achievement of Gujarat
under his Chief Minister ship. "What`s certain is that during
his 10 years in power in Gujarat, the state has become India`s
most industrialised and business-friendly territory, having
largely escaped the land conflicts and petty corruption that
often paralyze growth elsewhere in the nation," it said.
"Gujarat`s USD 85 billion economy may not be the largest
in India, but it has prospered without the benefit of natural
resources, fertile farmland, a big population center like
Mumbai or a lucrative high-tech hub like Bangalore. Gujarat`s
success, even Modi`s detractors acknowledge, is a result of
good planning, exactly what so much of India lacks," the
But Time does point out towards the 2002 riots, the
victims of which are yet to get justice. "In the decade since
that carnage, dozens of individual rioters have been
convicted, but the state has never had to answer accusations
that it failed to halt the violence: no top officials have
been held accountable or had conspiracy charges proved against
them," it said.
"One case naming Modi remains open, a notorious incident
in which nearly 200 people were killed while taking shelter in
the home of a Muslim politician, Ehsan Jafri, whose desperate
calls to government officials for protection were ignored.
Modi denies ever hearing from Jafri, who was dismembered
and killed. If this case also ends without any charges being
brought, the last remaining obstacle between Modi and national
office will fall," the weekly wrote.