Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Thursday claimed that India is “no longer” a democratic country, quoting media reports on Swedish Institute’s democracy report that downgraded India.
“India is no longer a democratic country,” he said on Twitter, tagging a news report citing Sweden’s V-Dem Institute’s democracy report that has downgraded India from “world’s largest democracy” to “electoral democracy”.
This comes after another global report by US government-funded NGO Freedom House downgraded India’s status from “free” to “partly free” and claimed that “political rights and civil liberties have eroded in India since Narendra Modi became prime minister in 2014”.
The government has strongly rebutted the Freedom House report and called it “misleading, incorrect and misplaced”, while asserting that the country has well established democratic practices.
Rahul Gandhi has been targeting the government over the issue of freedom of speech and expression.
The Swedish Institute’s report, titled ‘Autocratization Turns Viral’, said “the world’s largest democracy has turned into an electoral autocracy”, and that India’s “autocratization process” had followed a typical pattern – “a gradual deterioration where freedom of the media, academia, and civil society were curtailed first and to the greatest extent”.
The report listed India among 25 “autocratizing nations” along with Brazil, Turkey, and the United States. It claimed that “most of the decline occurred following BJP’s victory” in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections “and their promotion of a Hindu-nationalist agenda”.