How to Stop India’s Authoritarian Slide

Issue Date January 2024
Volume 35
Issue 1
Page Numbers 19–29
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Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in 2014, the India’s democracy has flagged. Modi’s government has been squeezing civic space, attacking the press, political opponents, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), and stoking ethnic tensions. The state has also used an array of laws to harass critics of the regime. Yet there is still a chance that the power of the vote will lead to a democratic revival. A re­gime is most vulnerable at an intermediate level of repression: where the state is undermining the rule of law to an extent that is significantly harmful to the political opposition and civil society, but the electoral door to democratic revival has not yet closed completely. This is pre­cisely where India is today. The most promising avenue of democratic resistance is at the subnational level.

About the Author

Rahul Mukherji is professor and head of the Department of Political Science in the South Asia Institute of Heidelberg University, Germany. His works include Globalization and Deregulation: Ideas Interests and Institutional Change in India (2014) and Political Economy of Reforms in India (2014).

View all work by Rahul Mukherji