Indian prime minister Narendra Modi emerged as the winner of the reader’s polls for 2014 TIME Person of the Year, but that did little to impress the magazine’s editors who did not shortlist him among the top eight finalists.
Since Mahatma Gandhi in 1930, no Indian has become the TIME Person of the Year.
On Nov. 19, TIME put out a list of top 50 contenders for the honor. Modi was the only Indian on the list.
Readers could cast their vote on Facebook (by commenting on any post that included the hashtag #TIMEPOY) or Twitter (using the same hashtag) or on the TIME website. Modi’s followers did their best to encourage people to vote.
The voting lasted through Dec. 6, and the winner was announced on Dec. 8. The magazine said that with more than 16% of the almost 5 million votes cast, Modi had won the reader’s poll.
Besides Modi, the Ferguson protesters in the US in solidarity with a black teenaged who was shot dead by police; Hong Kong protest leader Joshua Wong; winner of Nobel Peace Prize Malala Yousafzai and the doctors and nurses treating Ebola patients in west Africa, were among the top five in the reader’s poll.
However, as clearly stated on the magazine’s website, the choice of the winner rests with the editors. “But that doesn’t mean readers shouldn’t have their say,” TIME notes. Besides Modi, other top scorers in the reader polls, Wang and Yousafzai, were also dropped from the race to become the 2014 Person of the Year.
In all, 225 countries participated in the voting process. While the US accounted for most number of voters at 37%, India followed at 17%. “A strong showing of readers from India helped drive Modi’s first-place finish,” the magazine said.
Similarly, last year, Egypt’s General Abdul Fattah al-Sisi won after large number of readers from Egypt responded. Pope Francis, leader of the Catholic Church, however, won the title.
No explanations are expected or given by the TIME magazine.
That led to Modi’s detractors tweeting:
While his supporters are understandably displeased:
TIME managing editor Nancy Gibbs will announce the 2014 Person of the Year on Dec. 10.