Barely a fortnight after his photograph appeared on the cover of Time magazine's Asia edition, Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi has earned the dubious distinction of polling the highest number of negative votes in the same magazine's online poll for 100 most powerful people in the world.
File photo of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi at the 10th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas 2012 in Jaipur. AFP Photo/Raveendran
In the voting figures put up on the magazine's website after the end of polling for The 2012 TIME 100 Poll, Modi has finished third with 2,56,792 votes in his favour, but a higher number of 2,66,684 votes have been cast against him.
The magazine has described Modi as the "most polarising figure in Indian politics". It has, however, made it clear that "he remains associated with the ugly legacy of the 2002 Gujarat riots, where, under his watch, thousands died in an anti-Muslim pogrom".
The only other contender on the list to have got more votes against than in his favour is the President of violence-hit Syria, Bashar-al Assad, who figures at number eight. He polled 91,632 votes in favour, as opposed to 98,387 votes against him.
The final list, from among the 200 names made public on the basis of votes polled for and against them, will be announced on April 17. Other Indians on the list include Anna Hazare (at 22), Sachin Tendulkar (25) and Vidya Balan (33).
The Gujarat Congress had accused Modi of misusing official machinery for his online campaign. State party chief Arjun Modhvadia had said government departments were told to "ask people to vote on Time's website in favour of Modi".