Modi’s India has become less liberal but better governed

Political freedoms have eroded under the BJP’s Hindu nationalism. But as the election looms, Indian democracy is in better shape than widely assumed, argues Chietigj Bajpaee.

The World Today
3 minute READ

India goes to the polls this spring in what will be the world’s largest electoral exercise – with more than 900 million registered voters in the world’s most populous country of 1.4 billion people.

The Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has defied the norms of Indian politics by staying in power for almost a decade. Under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the BJP has won two consecutive elections under four key pillars: the BJP’s Hindu nationalist ideology known as Hindutva; a welfare and development-driven agenda; hyper-nationalism; and the Modi brand. The party’s rule has coincided, however, with the country acquiring the label of an illiberal democracy.

Subscribe to read all issues

Articles from the current issue are free to read by all, the archive is exclusive to magazine subscribers and our members. Subscribe or become a member to view articles from the archive.