An Illiberal India?

Issue Date January 2020
Volume 31
Issue 1
Page Numbers 193-202
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In May 2019, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi won a second five-year term with a parliamentary majority unprecedented in recent decades (303 of 545 total seats). Under his leadership, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has for all practical purposes abandoned any pretense of upholding India’s constitutional commitment to the values of secularism, political pluralism, and intellectual freedom. The BJP’s antisecular, majoritarian vision threatens liberal democracy in India on three levels: societal, ideological, and institutional. If the party implements this vision, India will probably remain an electoral democracy, but its claim to be a liberal democracy—a country of freewheeling debate and discussion, robust check-and-balance institutions, and solid safeguards for rights and freedoms—will become a thing of the past.

About the Author

Šumit Ganguly is Distinguished Professor of Political Science and holds the Rabindranath Tagore Chair in Indian Cultures and Civilizations at Indiana University, Bloomington, and is a visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. He is the author (with William Thompson) of Ascending India and Its State Capacity (2017).

View all work by Šumit Ganguly