British media see Bihar shadow over PM Modi’s UK visit

  • Prasun Sonwalkar, Hindustan Times, London
  • Updated: Nov 09, 2015 23:33 IST
File photo of Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressing an election rally during the just concluded Bihar assembly elections. (Hindustan Times)

The British news media have used the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi this week to focus on the success of Indian immigrants in Britain, but have also reported that the Bihar election result will cast a shadow on his first visit here since 2003.

The Bihar election result was reported widely on Monday, alongwith the context of writers and others returning awards, and reports of beef-related attacks.

The Independent reported: “The (Bihar) result means that as he prepares for an enthusiastic welcome in Britain this week – including an unprecedented sell-out event at Wembley Stadium on Friday – Mr Modi will be smarting from the defeat on home soil, which comes as his administration also faces mounting accusations of fomenting intolerance”.

The Daily Telegraph reported, “(Modi’s) defeat will embolden his opposition and dampen the mood as he heads to London for a visit that will include a sold-out rally with British-Indians at Wembley Stadium, lunch with the Queen at Buckingham Palace and an overnight stay at Chequers hosted by David Cameron.”

Anti-Modi messages

A collective of campaign groups opposing Modi’s visit projected a large image on the Houses of Parliament building and the Big Ben on Sunday night, with the message: ‘Modi Not Welcome’.

The image showed Modi holding a sword in one hand and a shield with the ‘Om’ symbol with a swastika superimposed. A demonstration has been planned by the Awaaz UK Network in Downing Street for 12 November, the first day of Modi’s visit.

A Scotland Yard spokesperson told HT that “an appropriate policing plan” was in place to deal with the situation during the visit.

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