Questioning Narendra Modi over the 2002 Gujarat riots, international magazine The Economist has refused to endorse him as the next prime minister of India, despite considering him a front runner for the job.
The magazine said India deserves someone better than Modi.
BJP dismissed the opinion of the magazine. "Let them write what they want to. They don't know the ground realities," said party leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.
In a lead piece in its April 5 issue, the magazine said Congress under Rahul Gandhi is not inspiring but it will still recommend it to Indians as the less disturbing option.
Comparing Rahul Gandhi with Narendra Modi, the magazine said: "Mr Modi is a former tea seller propelled to the top by sheer ability. Mr Gandhi seems not to know his own mind - even whether he wants power."
But despite admiring Modi, the magazine argued, it cannot bring itself to back Modi as the PM.
"The reason begins with a Hindu rampage against Muslims in Gujarat in 2002, in which at least 1,000 people were slaughtered...Mr Modi had helped organise a march on the holy site at Ayodhya in 1990 which, two years later, led to the deaths of 2,000 in Hindu-Muslim clashes," it said.
The magazine added that it could consider backing Modi if he explains his role in the violence and shows genuine remorse for it.
It suggested that if Congress is unlikely winner of the election Rahul Gandhi should step back from politics and promote modernisers to the fore. In case, the BJP is winner, its coalition partners should hold out for a prime minister other than Modi.
It ends the piece by saying in case Modi still become PM, the magazine would be delighted if he proves it wrong by governing India in a modern, honest and fair way.