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Business News/ Politics / News/  Lok Sabha Elections 2024: ‘Mother of democracy' India not in good shape, Financial Times Editorial Board writes

Lok Sabha Elections 2024: ‘Mother of democracy' India not in good shape, Financial Times Editorial Board writes

British daily business newspaper, Financial Times, says that the gap between 'pro-democratic rhetoric and reality is widening’ in India ahead of crucial Lok Sabha Elections 2024

Lok Sabha Elections 2024: ‘Mother of democracy' India not in good shape: Financial Times Editorial Board (PTI)Premium
Lok Sabha Elections 2024: ‘Mother of democracy' India not in good shape: Financial Times Editorial Board (PTI)

The ‘intensifying clampdown’ on opposition parties in India suggests that the Union government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in ‘ill health, with worrying implications' for the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections 2024, an opinion by the Editorial Board of Financial Times, has said. 

Titled “The mother of democracy is not in good shape", the British daily business newspaper says that the ‘gap between pro-democratic rhetoric and reality is widening in India.’ The newspaper says Prime Minister Narendra Modi has often called India the ‘Mother of Democracy.’ 

The newspaper further states that a ‘squeeze on free expression and opposition’ has been a feature of PM Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rule, especially since its second win in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. The piece refers to the recent arrest of opposition leaders, including Arvind Kejriwal, by the Enforcement Directorate and the bank account freezing allegation by the Congress, the principal opposition party.   

Follow all Arvind Kejriwal news LIVE updates Here

“Harassment, often by tax or legal authorities, has become common for government critics, be they independent media, academics, think tanks or civil society groups. The BJP’s muscular Hindu nationalism has eroded India’s tradition of secular democracy," reads the piece. 

The Financial Times piece comes amid opposition charges of ‘misuse’ of investigation agencies against the PM Modi-led government. The opposition has, for this reason, called the BJP a ‘washing machine’, referring to the increasing phenomenon of opposition politicians accused of corruption not facing any probe after switching over to the BJP. The charge has been rejected by the government. 

An Indian Express report on April 3 said that at least 23 of 25 opposition leaders accused of corruption since 2014 have got reprieve after joining the BJP. 

The FT piece also refers to the March 31  ‘Loktantra Bachao’ Maharally at Delhi's Ramlila Maidan, in which key opposition leaders of the INDIA bloc came together in solidarity with Arvind Kejriwal to protest the larger concern of  ‘misuse’ of central agencies by PM Modi-led Union government.

“Rahul Gandhi accused Modi of ‘match-fixing’ in the run-up to the election. The BJP denies the allegation that Modi and his party have used state agencies and authorities to stifle opponents or affect the election," the piece reads. 

It further says that it is ‘puzzling’ that the ruling party would even see a need to ‘squeeze’ the opposition at a time when opinion polls suggest the BJP is winning a third term in power in the 2024 elections.

Also Read: Sanjay Singh's bail: Will it help ease tough PMLA rules, give respite to Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal in liquor policy case?

The newspaper says that since India is one of the world’s largest and most vibrant economies today, it has to manage its democracy according to its own culture and traditions. 

“But there is an ever-wider gap between Modi’s pro-democratic rhetoric and the reality. This matters not just for the rights and freedoms of its people. India’s attractiveness for investment and as a geopolitical partner for countries wary of an increasingly authoritarian China, relies in large part on its image as a democratic, law-based state," it reads.

Also Read: PM Modi denies opposition's accusations of probe agency misuse: ‘We neither obstruct nor direct ED’

The newspaper also refers to concerns expressed by the United States after New Delhi summoned the top US diplomat to protest Washington's criticism of Arvind Kejriwal’s arrest. 

“Other democratic nations should be similarly robust. Preserving political freedoms is in the best interests of Indian growth and prosperity and of the Modi government’s ambitions to enhance the country’s role as a leading member of the global community," it reads.  

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Published: 03 Apr 2024, 10:39 AM IST
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