Modi-led BJP a threat to democracy, People Should Vote it Out
The Economist – one of the most respected publications in the world – in a latest article has warned that the Modi-led ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) poses a threat to democracy and said that the “voters should turf it out, or at least force it to govern in coalition”.
It says after the five years under the rule of Prime Minister Modi, the risks still outweigh the rewards. “Indians, who are in the midst of voting in a fresh election, would be better off with a different leader,” it added.
The Economist criticised Modi’s aggressive approach towards Pakistan and said his tough-guy approach had been a disaster in the Indian-controlled Kashmir.
Citing the example of much-criticised demonetisation policy, it noted that the economy had grown only marginally faster during his tenure than it did over the previous ten years, when the Congress party was in government, despite receiving a big boost from low oil prices. “Unemployment has risen, breaking promises to the contrary,” it noted.
About the authoritarian tendencies, The Economist says, “Indians hear such criticisms less often because Mr Modi has cowed the press, showering bounty on flatterers while starving, controlling and bullying critics. He himself appears only at major events. He has also suborned respected government institutions, hounding the boss of the central bank from office, for example, as well as loosing tax collectors on political opponents, packing state universities with ideologues and cocking a snook at rules meant to insulate the army from politics.”
However, it lists the relentless stoking of Hindu-Muslim tensions as Modi’s biggest fault.
“He personally chose as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state, a fiery Hindu cleric who paints the election campaign as a battle between the two faiths. Mr Modi’s number two calls Muslim migrants from neighbouring Bangladesh ‘termites’, but promises a warm welcome to Bangladeshi Hindus. One of the BJP’s candidates is on trial for helping orchestrate a bombing that killed six Muslims. And Mr Modi himself has never apologised for failing to prevent the deaths of at least 1,000 people, most of them Muslims, during sectarian riots in the state of Gujarat while he was chief minister there. The closest he has come has been to express the sort of regret you might feel “if a puppy comes under the wheel” of a car.”
According to The Economist, India is too combustible a place to be put into the hands of politicians who campaign with flamethrowers with vigilantes often beating up or lynch Muslims they suspect of harming cows.
“And even if the BJP’s Muslim-baiting does not ignite any more full-scale pogroms, it still leaves 175 million Indians feeling like second-class citizens.”
On the other hand, Congress may be hidebound and corrupt, but at least it does not set Indians at one another’s throats. “It has come up with an impressive manifesto, with thoughtful ideas about how to help the poorest Indians,” says The Economist.
Urging the voters to act now, it says, “With less than a tenth of the seats in parliament, Congress will not improve its showing enough to form a government on its own. If it and its regional allies do better than expected, they may just be able to cobble together a majority. But even if, as is more likely, the BJP remains in charge, it would be preferable if it were forced to govern in coalition.”