The Shiv Sena, an ally of the Bharatiya Janata Pary in Maharashtra, joined several Opposition parties on Monday in their criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s interviews to some news outlets over the weekend.

In its mouthpiece, Saamana, the party drew parallels with the interviews and propaganda associated with Russia and China.

In interviews to ANI, The Times of India and Hindustan Times, Modi spoke about key subjects such as job creation, the economy, Assam’s National Register of Citizens and the 2019 general elections.

The prime minister condemned incidents of lynching and mob violence, which critics have accused his government of encouraging. He also said that his government was taking steps to engage with digital media platforms to prevent fake news.

Referring to the interviews as “one-sided dialogue”, the editorial said the media outlets just sent a questionnaire to the prime minister’s office, which in turn sent written replies.

Journalists must be allowed the freedom to conduct direct interviews, the editorial said. “The incumbent prime minister seems to have ended this tradition. He answers what he deems proper and the interviews are published accordingly,” it said.

The editorial claimed that Modi, in the published interview, had wrongly implied that his government had increased job opportunities. “If the interview had been conducted face-to-face, the journalist would have had the opportunity to ask supplementary questions,” the editorial stated. “If so many jobs have indeed been created, then why do unemployed youths rampage on the streets for employment and job reservations?”

The Sena’s mouthpiece said that the prime minister had not conducted a single press conference until now. He only shares his opinions through his monthly radio programme Mann ki Baat, the editorial said. “Before the [2014] elections, Modi was a friend of the media, but after becoming the PM, he has retreated into a cage... If this continues, then many journalists may lose their jobs.”

Criticism against Modi

On August 12, several Opposition parties accused Modi of misleading the public on several matters including the Rafale deal, employment statistics, National Register of Citizens and mob lynchings. The Congress alleged that the prime minister had “mixed statistics” from the Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation and employment statistics.

Trinamool Congress leader Derek O’Brien challenged Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government to answer why more than 40 lakh people had been excluded from the final draft of the National Register of Citizens. The Trinamool Congress leader was responding to Modi’s statement that no Indian citizen will have to leave India.