Liberal democratic qualities have dropped sharply in World’s largest democracy India since Narendra Modi came to power in 2014, says a report. The report has been compiled by the V-Dem Institute, run by professor Staffan I. Lindberg of the University of Gothenburg’s Department of Political Science. The report has indicated that BJP’s strong position in Parliament is one of the main reasons that have led to this decline, clear indication that country’s top legislature house has no strong opposition which could check Modi’s power. The report has surfaced at a time when the opposition parties are blaming BJP-led NDA government of attacking democracy through the exploitation of government agencies. If we look at current numbers, the NDA has a majority in the Lok Sabha and around 85 seats in Rajya Sabha.
Experts believe that strong opposition is very crucial for any modern democracy. Also, BJP’s continuous victory in various states has allowed the saffron party to expand its footprints in various parts of the country. The index is based on almost 400 indicators, including legal transparency and predictable enforcement, respect for private property rights, and access to the justice system for regular citizens.
When it comes to indicators that measure liberal democracy in the country, there is a clear sharp decline in India. The countries have been ranked from 0 to 100, 50 could be considered a natural threshold, and in 2015, India went below this number for the very first time in last 40 years.
The professor who has prepared this report feels that Indian democracy is under the fear of losing individual and minority freedoms and rights. On the 43rd anniversary of Emergency, opposition parties said that there is an undeclared Emergency in the country for the past 49 months and compared Narendra Modi with Aurangzeb. The professor believes that paradigm shift, in context of democratic rights of citizens, especially minorities, would take other countries with close ties to India to follow its lead away from democracy.