Modi vanished as second wave devastated India: The Economist


NEW DELHI: “The prime minister loves the limelight, but only when things are going well,” a scathing article published in The Economist said.

The report criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi for disappearing during the times of crisis. It was referring to the unprecedented second coronavirus wave in the country, which has crippled its healthcare system.

It chastised PM Modi and accuses him of failing to control the second wave of coronavirus.

It pointed out how PM Modi is distinctly visible when things are on the upswing. However, “the omnipresent” PM started fading like the “Cheshire Cat” when coronavirus cases started rising, it said.

The article further stated that though the country’s media reports about “top-level” prime-ministerial meetings, it has failed to come up with footage of the same.

“He was everywhere: on television snipping ribbons, waving to adoring crowds and grappling foreign leaders; on posters doling out subsidised cooking gas or cheerleading for pilgrimages to Hindu holy sites; and even, in recent months, gazing benignly out of vaccination certificates next to the words ‘Together, India will defeat covid-19’,” the report said.

The report pointed out how the PM could have used his persona to rally the nation. “When things were going well in the fight against the virus, Mr Modi was happy to take the limelight,” it added.

Quoting references from the past, the article alleged that PM Modi had similarly “vanished amid a crisis” during the 2002 Gujarat riots, when a mob lynched people in the name of “cow protection”, when people took to the streets against the Citizenship Amendment Act, during the communal riots in Delhi and when farmers protested against the three farm laws.

“In fact, the tendency to shy away from bad news has become a trademark not just of Mr Modi, but of his government,” it said.

It noted that the same temperament is visible in the entire government’s machinery.

According the Economist, the government officials were “more busy attacking critics, or belittling private initiatives that put the government’s efforts to shame, rather than dealing with the crisis”.

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