No Democracy. India Continues to be an Electoral Autocracy: Global Report

Narendra Modi (file photo). Courtesy: PIB
Narendra Modi (file photo). Courtesy: PIB

No Democracy. India Continues to be an Electoral Autocracy: Global Report

The V-Dem report claims that India is one of the worst autocratizers lately.

By RMN News Service

A global report reveals that India lost its status of democracy and dropped down to electoral autocracy in 2018 and remains in this category by the end of 2023.

The “Democracy Report 2024: Democracy Winning and Losing at the Ballot” was released today (March 7, 2024) by the Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem) project, which is managed by V-Dem Institute under the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. 

The electoral autocracy is a status given to those nations where some kind of fair or foul elections take place but the regimes in these nations deprive people of their fundamental rights.

The autocrats in these nations win elections by hook or by crook and then usurp all the institutions such as judiciary, parliament, election offices, law-enforcement agencies, and media outfits illegally. 

It is being observed that the dictators – mostly with criminal records – in electoral autocracies squander national resources to unnecessarily import products and services from advanced nations and promote oligarchy. 

As this is a kind of bribe to the world leaders, they turn a blind eye to the corruption and human rights abuses committed by the dictators in electoral autocracies.

The report says that the ruling anti-pluralist, Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) with prime minister (PM) Narendra Modi at the helm has used laws on sedition, defamation, and counterterrorism to silence critics. 

The BJP government undermined the constitution’s commitment to secularism by amending the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in 2019, the report notes. It adds that the Modi-led government also continues to suppress the freedom of religion rights while intimidation of political opponents and people protesting government policies, as well as silencing of dissent in academia are now prevalent.

In its findings, the report reveals that the Indian authorities have also intensified their crackdowns on journalists, activists, and critics of the regime.

The V-Dem report says that India’s autocratization process has been well documented, including gradual but substantial deterioration of freedom of expression, compromising independence of the media, crackdowns on social media, harassments of journalists critical of the government, as well as attacks on civil society and intimidation of the opposition. 

According to the report, autocratization is ongoing in 42 countries, home to 2.8 billion people, or 35% of the world’s population. India, with 18% of the world’s population, accounts for about half of the population living in autocratizing countries.

Large countries with big populations and large economies such as India, Mexico, The Philippines, Pakistan, Poland, Russia, and Türkiye have declined significantly on democracy.

A plurality – 44% of the world’s population, or 3.5 billion people – reside in electoral autocracies, which include populous countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Russia, The Philippines, and Türkiye. The report claims that India is one of the worst autocratizers lately.

Freedom of expression including freedom of the media is what “aspiring autocrats” attack most often and to the greatest degree. Among the worst government offenders when it comes to increasing their efforts to censor the media are El Salvador, India, and notably Mauritius. 

While India will hold its Lok Sabha election in the next couple of months, the V-Dem report predicts that Modi and his BJP are expected to win a third consecutive term.

This – according to the report – could lead to further autocratization given the already substantial democratic decline under Modi’s leadership and the enduring crackdown on minority rights and civil society.

Note: The Indian government of prime minister (PM) Narendra Modi arrogantly rejects all the truthful global reports that reveal the failure or the autocracy of the Modi regime. Without offering any logical reasoning, the Modi government randomly claims that it is a global conspiracy to discredit Modi and his government.

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Rakesh Raman