1. 50% funding cut
Despite Narendra Modi’s feel-good #selfiewithdaughter social media campaign, his government took a chainsaw to funding for women’s programs. Modi’s 2015 budget slashed funding for the Women and Child Development Ministry by over 50% from the 2014 budget. This was so harsh that it drove Modi’s cabinet minister Maneka Gandhi to join the opposition to demand a reversal of the cuts, to protect programs that support undernourished children, pregnant and lactating women, as well as empowerment programs for teenage girls.
- FirstPost: “After 50% fund cut, Maneka Gandhi to ask Jaitley for more money for women & children”
- Indian Express: “Activists cry foul as WCD Ministry funds slashed by half”
2. BJP rape culture
Leaders in the BJP, Narendra Modi’s political party, have at times been actively promoting rape culture. Some of Modi’s political surrogates openly threaten rape to rivals, with BJP leaders like Gaur saying statements like “rape is sometimes right, sometimes wrong.” While Narendra Modi speaks about protecting women, Indian newspapers are filled with stories of Indian women and children being raped inside BJP offices, with Modi unwilling or unable to control his own party.
- Reuters: “Ally of India’s Modi says rape ‘sometimes right, sometimes wrong’”
- Storify: “Rape cases against the BJP politicians”
- NDTV: “Shocker: 5-year-old allegedly raped by 17-year-old inside BJP’s Kolkata office”
- Indian Express: “BJP leader, five others arrested in MP for raping minor girl”
- Times of India: “Woman claims rape inside BJP office in MP”
- India Today: “Bangalore rape case: KJP leader Shobha alleges 4 BJP leaders gangraped girl”
- Zee News: “Former BJP leader gets life term in rape case”
3. Abandoning his wife
In his personal life, Narendra Modi’s decision to hide his abandoned wife, Jashodaben, has raised eyebrows the world over, with Modi subsequently refusing to either grant his wife a divorce, or give her first lady status.
- Washington Post: “Why did Narendra Modi keep his wife secret for almost 50 years?”
- BBC: “India PM Modi’s wife Jashodaben airs safety concerns”
- Times of India: “Modi’s wife Jashodaben files appeal after police deny information under RTI”