Ever since Narendra Modi became the Prime Minister of our nation – accusations have been rife that the country would have a steep slide towards an authoritarian rule. The intellectual and political class of India feared that the very notion of democracy would be shaken if secularism comes into danger owing to the Hindutva ideologies of the NDA.
The very fact that BJP now rules 22 out of 29 states is a cause of concern for many especially since democracy transmutes itself into a single fact – India votes every 5 years and then looks for reasons to evaluate a government’s progress.
BJP’s run at the center has been a tumultuous ride of epic proportions – decisions from demonetization to GST to Triple Talaq abolishment, etc. all have garnered mixed emotions from the country’s citizens.
Many journalists and opposition party members now call Modi an autocrat. Is it really so?
Let’s have a look at the accusations people have been making against Modi:
Re-branding and renaming the public welfare schemes
Jairam Ramesh of the Congress has said that under the BJP-led NDA dispensation, democracy has now become an autocracy.
This is due to the very fact that many of the schemes announced by the Modi government bear stark resemblances to the schemes which were initiated/proposed by the erstwhile Congress-led UPA government. For e.g. Basic Savings Bank Deposit Account proposed by P. Chidambaram was called Jan Dhan Yojana by the Modi government.
Bittersweet reaction to demonetization
Everyone takes a jibe at the NDA for their ‘fight against black money, cross-border terrorism, and counterfeited currency’. ‘Notebandi’ was an overnight decision which shook the entire nation which hit many small and medium scale industries after old notes were scrapped.
Furthermore, demonetization wasn’t as big as a success as it was presumed before being flung out in the open.
More emphasis on pleasing ‘favorable’ businesses
Call it the Adani or Reliance Jio fiasco, Modi has always been accused of favoring businesses who have large amounts to invest in India.
On the contrary, he has also been accused of promising to create two crore jobs, whereas official records show that only about 2.5 lakh employment opportunities were generated in 2016 and 2017.
The GST fiasco
You have to accept it, GST was a brilliant idea but put forth in a really haphazard manner without proper planning.
The online software for tax filing failed numerous times. People missed deadlines. Prices of various products were and are constantly being changed. Tax slabs are evaluated every month – what a joke!
Environmental Protection took a backseat
HRD minister Prakash Javadekar has been accused of putting the environment on an afterburner.\
The previous MoS for Ministry of Environment and Forests, Jairam Ramesh said that he had red-flagged the Lavasa project (India’s first-ever private hill city project based in Pune) in the past, but the scrapping of the Special Planning Authority (SPA) status of this project was revoked recently by Maharashtra CM, Devendra Fadnavis.
Increase in caste violence and attacks on ‘anti-national’ elements
BJP has been accused of practicing vendetta politics against backward classes to promote its agenda of Ram Mandir and Hindutva.
From the 2015 Jat-Dalit violence in Dangawas of Rajasthan, 2016’s Rohith Vemula Suicide in Central University of Hyderabad, 2016 Saharanpur violence to the latest violence of Bhima Koregaon and Kasganj in 2017 and 2018 respectively – all incidents lead to violence. In all these cases, people from backward classes were getting beaten up or killed for either being Dalit or chanting a slogan different to that of the BJP.
Recently statistics published by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) show that conviction rate for crimes against Dalits has risen in recent years from 35% in 2010 to 46.9% now.
After Modi’s government came into power in 2014, farmer suicide rate rose by 40%. Drought-hit Maharashtra recorded the highest number of suicides which is followed by Telangana.
Shockingly, seven states (namely, Maharashtra, Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka) account for over 87.5% of total farmer suicides in the country.
Modi has been accused of delay in addressing their issues such as lower fertilizer costs, reducing costs for the purchase of Precision farming techniques like SRI (Systematic Rice Intensification), Institutional financing, etc. to ensure adequate livelihood to the farmers.
Overall, it is a matter of which side you are own – BJP or the opposition if you wish to decide if Modi is an autocrat or not.
According to a US Congressional report, India’s New Government and Implications for US Interests” for the Congressional Research Service (CRS), Modi has been called an autocrat by the US congratulating him on his win in 2014 – Modi “is known as a strong-willed and effective, if perhaps autocratic, administrator,” highlights the report for US lawmakers.
As long as the true nature of democracy is preserved by you – the voter, this nation cannot come under an autocratic rule of any kind whatsoever. You should question yourself whether the current government is heading towards autocracy or not?