Narendra Modi and the TIME 100: Even an Online Poll Sparks Controversy

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Raveendran / AFP / Getty Images

Gujarat Chief minister Narendra Modi delivers a speech in Jaipur on January 9, 2012.

The annual TIME 100 poll is no stranger to sensational results. It once triggered a comic dance-off between an American television icon and a Korean pop superstar. More often than not, though, the online poll showcases the collective power of the Internet — invariably, the heroes of cyber subversives and netizens-in-the-know rise to the forefront, outstripping the world’s traditional powerbrokers. The top two most influential people in the world, according to you, the voters, are the hacktivist collective Anonymous and Erik Martin, general manager of the information-sharing site Reddit. You’ll have to scroll down the results page for a while to find GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.

But another right-wing politician did come in third: India’s Narendra Modi. The controversial Chief Minister of the western state of Gujarat, Modi is, as a recent TIME International cover story discussed, one of the most polarizing figures in the world’s largest democracy: to his supporters, he’s a pro-business reformer and man of action who ought to be the country’s next Prime Minister; to some of his critics, he is little better than a war criminal, complicit in the hideous 2002 religious riots in Gujarat that took place under his watch in which hundreds died.

(READ: Why Modi means business.)

Not surprisingly, Modi’s Hindu nationalist backers seemed to have rushed to the poll, helping him soar ahead of well-known U.S. personalities like President Obama and Lady Gaga. But so too did his detractors. In addition to quite a few “Yes” votes, Modi amassed the most “No” votes of anyone featured on the poll — more than 260,000.

Of course, given how heated any discussion of Modi becomes in India, the poll itself turned into something of a hot potato. Eight months ahead of local elections in Gujarat, a politico from the Congress party (in opposition in Gujarat, but in power in New Delhi, where Modi’s BJP is its chief opponent) labeled him an “internet manipulator,” using TIME’s poll to boost his own standing. Seeing Modi’s rise up the poll, opponents banded together, in some cases sending mass emails urging Indians to “save the future” of their country by voting “No” against Modi. A Congress party spokesman hailed the results of this effort:

What the supporters of the Chief Minister were doing was just a manipulation of the internet to make him repositioned as one of the top influential leader of year. This was not a natural vote as we know that his supporters were manipulating it. So his opponents have voted against him as they have come to know reality of things in Gujarat.

That reality, though, has little to do with the over-heated buzz and spin surrounding an unscientific online poll. Still, it’s proof that Gujarat’s Chief Minister casts a very long shadow over Indian politics. In an interview while in India, TIME editor-at-large Bobby Ghosh explained the prominence given to Modi on the magazine’s cover and website: “Being on the cover of TIME is neither a prize nor an endorsement. It is a sign of a person’s importance, or of their influence, certainly. Modi is unquestionably both of those things.”

39 comments
KaveetaJaain
KaveetaJaain

Votes manipulated for sure.Please look into it.Time magazine is a prestigious magazine.How could you leave the poll open to glitches

Zinnax
Zinnax

Narendra Modi is really a culprit. He should be prisoned for Lifetime. I have never seen such a crucial man. Whatever you do... Indians Hate you

ElCalvin
ElCalvin

till 20th poll was going very smooth damn modi he  and his supporters are destroying every fair thing :\  . 
would totally hate to see him on cover casue he was loosing to AK in poll till 20th  . 

AazaadHindustaani
AazaadHindustaani

Out of total 26 Loksabha constituencies from Gujrat, Modi has given tickets to 10 candidates who are originally from Congress Party.
गुजरातमेंमोदीजीनेकुल 26 मेंसे 10 सीटपरपूर्वकांग्रेसनेताओकोटिकटदियाहै ! *** नहींमानते ?? *** येरहीलिस्ट ***
१)डॉ. केसीपटेल - वलसाड - पूर्वकांग्रेसनेता , पत्नीकांग्रेससेजिल्लापंचायतमें .
२)विठ्ठलरादडिया- पोरबंदर- तिनबारकांग्रेसविधायकऔरएकबारकांग्रेसएम्पीरहचुकेहै.
३)पूनममाडम- जामनगर- पूर्वगुजरातप्रदेशकांग्रेसमहिलामहामंत्री .
४)देवजीतेपरा - सुरेन्द्रनगर - पूर्वकांग्रेसविधायकहलवद .
५)लीलाधरवाघेला - पाटन- पूर्वकांग्रेसविधायक .
६)रामसिंहराठवा - छोटाउदेपुर - पूर्वकांग्रेसविधायक .
७)प्रभुवसावा - बारडोली - पूर्वकांग्रेसविधायक , कांग्रेसनेतातुषारचौधरीकेखासदोस्त .
८)किरीटसोलंकी- अहमदाबादपश्चिम- पूर्वकांग्रेसनेता .
९)विनोदचावड़ा - कच्छ- पूर्वएनएसयुआईनेतापूर्वयुवककांग्रेसनेता .
१०)देवसिंहचौहान - खेड़ा - पूर्वकांग्रेससंगठनमंत्री .
Anything for SATTA. Anything for CHAIR. BJP=CONGRESS

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AAP IS THE ONLY HOPE FOR INDIA. . . . . .

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BJP=CONGRESS==>CORRUPTION...

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AazaadHindustaani
AazaadHindustaani

पहले कॉंग्रेस ने लूटा, अब लूटेगी मोदी सरकार !!!

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सत्ता के लिये भाजपा सारे पार्टी के CORRUPT नेताओंको टिकेट दे रही है.

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=> येडियूरप्पा (KJP): several charges in many illegal mining cases, many land scams

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=> गेगाग अपांग (अरुणाचल कॉन्ग्रेस): was arrested in Aug 2010 for 1000 crore private distribution system scam, hill transport subsidy bills scam

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=> भाजपा मे राम विलास पासवान (LJP): Bokaro Steel plant scam corruption

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=> श्रीरामालू (BSR Congress): Bellary's mining scam

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=> विट्ठलभाईरादड़िया (Congress): a former Congress MP and big GOON who was CAUGHT ON CAMERA pulling out a RIFLE GUN, brandishing it and threatening people

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=> राम कृपाल यादव (RJD): Corrupt Rajyasabha MP from Lalu Prasad Yadav’s RJD

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=> राजेश वर्मा (BSP): Corrupt former MP from Mayawati’s BSP

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=> कौशल किशोर (SP) : from MulayamSingh yadav’s Samajvadi party

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=> जगदंबिका पाल ( Congress )

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=> BJP corrupts: Nitin Gadkari (Pury dam scam), Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank (Uttarakhand scams), Purshotaam Solanki (fishery scam), Amit Shah (fake encounter cases, snoopgate, Babubhai Bokhiria (3 years conviction by court in illegal limestone mining case).

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एन सबका लोकसभा टिकट देकर BJP नेस्वागत किया है।

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Wah मोदी जी। भारत का काला धन लाने का ये अच्छा रास्ता है भाजपा का!!!

AAP IS THE ONLY HOPE FOR INDIA. . . . . .

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BJP=CONGRESS==>CORRUPTION...

Rajat_Biswal
Rajat_Biswal

Modi is the worst fellow. 

Arvind Kejriwal is the face of common man. He is fighting for people like us.

When Arvind Kejriwal fights against corruption, Narendra Modi & Rahul Gandhi both are corrupted and their party spreading fake rumors to spread riots. If Modi by any chance got PM seat of India, he may attack Pakistan, China & US with nuclear power, this is what his supporters claims. So there will be 3rd world war which may destroy the whole earth.

Arvind Kejriwal will spread love everywhere. That's why we common people support him.

AazaadHindustaani
AazaadHindustaani

VIDEO PROOF of MODI govt SHAMELSS CRUELTY with FARMERS: _______ PLEASE SEE THIS TO EXPOSE MODI GOVT’S INJUSTICE AND ILL-TREATMENT TO POOR FARMERS. Really SO SAD to see how Modi govt treated the farmers and women!!!

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GUJARAT POLICE'S ATROCITIES AGAINST GUJARAT'S FARMERS TO EVICT THEM FROM THEIR LAND. The protest against Nirma's Cement Plant and forceful land acquistion was led by Kanubhau Kalsaria who is now AAP's candidate from Bhavnagar, Gujarat for the 2014 Elections. 

VIDEO PROOF:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IDFIWp9eW-E

joshiarun333
joshiarun333

only modi willll be the time person of india

lovlyvmal
lovlyvmal

What abt million died in srilanka who r all d origin if India(TamilNadu)? Hey conggie u cant betray Indian by talkng 1ly abt Independence.. Its TIME 2 move urslf.. BAD BYE..

Vinayaka.Seetharam
Vinayaka.Seetharam

Woww ... dint know that time could publish such an article without verifying the facts, specially from an author whose father is a vocal critic against Narendra modi

sathish_js
sathish_js

what more can you expect from boot licker's gene

bobbyrg
bobbyrg

no wonder the editor may be related to sasi tharoor congress leader

NaliniFadke
NaliniFadke

Hi wher may we see Wharton India debate?