by Umaima Asim

Almost 10 percent of the world’s population is casting their vote this May in India. Ostensibly, the world’s largest democracy is consolidating itself in the Global South, but the facts show not just a different but a completely converse reality. India is becoming a one-party system. With the commencement of the third phase of the six-week election process, which is essentially divided into seven phases, the increasing likelihood of the BJP winning the parliamentary elections accelerates the process of decomposition of the Indian democracy.


BJP has adulterated the secular democratic brew of Indian democracy with Hindutva, which Modi contextualizes as “an article of faith” in the primary RSS model he learned as a child. Democracy is no longer defined from the narrative of Dr. Ambedkar’s Constitution as it once was, rather it’s Hindu-cracy. More clearly defined by an analyst as Hindu-crazy under the Modi Sarkar. BJP aims to attract the vote of Hindu nationalists, so the party has hugely invested into producing them. The society is tactically polarized through charging the Hindus politically by incentivizing the fear of a Muslim minority. According to Reuters, a low voter turnout, as compared to 2019 elections, is observed after the completion of the second phase of elections. This has caught Modi in a fraught situation with an unexpected outcome. As a result, he is goading his supporters to turn to polls by campaigning fierily and targeting the Muslims in his political forays, calling them names such as, Ghusbaithiye; Infiltrators.

The political polarization and the hate track under the BJP Sarkar has set a record because of the party’s use of the Muslim card and other offensive measures, which are in direct violation of the Representatives of the Peoples Act of India 1951. It is evident from the unfolding events, such as the leak of 3000 sex videos of Prajwal Revanna, that the BJP and its qualifying members are exempt from all laws and charges. On the other hand, the arrest of Kejriwal of the Aam Admi Party and the disqualification of members of the INDIA coalition, which acts as a bastion for Indian democracy, by the EC highlight that the BJP has its agenda all set for ab ki baar 400 paar.

Another way the BJP uses to achieve its goal, apart from playing the politics of extremism and theocratic nationalism, is Crony Capitalism. Theorized by sociologists Rodney Stark and William S. Bainbridge in their ‘Religious Market Theory’, this capitalism has revived the Hinduism of present day. An Indian historian, Meera Nanda writes in her book, ‘The God Market’, that middle-class segments and the burgeoning elite after the post 1980s neo-liberal policies have transformed from being consumers of the nationalist-secular narrative to being the consumers of Hindu nationalism. According to her such groups, have “re-ritualized and re-enchanted Hinduism” which is presumed to be intrinsically linked to a guaranteed prosperity.

Today, the size of India’s GDP may have risen from $275 billion to $4.1 trillion in FY24, but the ratio of income inequality in India is the highest in the world. Almost 77% of the total national wealth is owned by the top 10%, including Indian tycoons, to name a few: Mukesh Ambani, Gautam Adani, and Sajjan Jindal. While 63 million ordinary citizens are pushed into poverty, the average real income growth in India is around 3.6% a year. India also accounts for 17% of global maternal deaths and 21% of deaths among children under five years old, which are even higher than in Africa. India ranks 111th of the 125 nations in the Global Hunger Index (2023) report, where 74% of the population cannot afford healthy food. On coming to power, the BJP claimed that ‘the enemy within’ and a corrupt Congress family dynasty were the reasons for rising inequality and poor living standards. With his new privatization policies, welfare schemes such as free grain to 80 million people, cuts in food and fuel subsidies, and a vision of Viksit Bharat 2047, Modi has achieved his personalized machismo aura of the savior.

The party has also used doubtful legal and corporate means to win the previous elections and has repeated the same malicious cycle this year. The 2019 elections were the world’s most expensive elections, as reported by the Economist, since the government legalized black money from unknown sources by introducing the Money Bill of the Financial Act 2017. The introduction of electoral bonds instead of bags of money received from unanimous donors had ramifications for Indian institutions. The BJP received and invested Rs. 270 billion in the Lok Sabha elections, Rs. 62 crore per seat limit of which was Rs. 1 crore as set by the EC. The BJP government also changed the foreign company funds by redefining the foreign companies, in the ambit of which also lie the shell companies. These shell companies and companies suffering losses could also donate, unlike before, because of the restriction on donations to 7.5% of the total revenue profit sent by Indian or partially owned Indian companies, exposing the corporate-political nexus. In its February 15th decision, the Supreme Court of India declared the electoral bonds unconstitutional, a violation of the voters right to information, as not being transparent and, most importantly, against the integrity of the electoral process.

Legalization of such laws, along with the insular selection process of chief election commissioners through the CEC Bill 2023 (now an Act) and the resignation of election commissioner Arun Goel just before the elections, is an insult to the transparency of the elections being conducted. This was challenged by the INDIA Alliance even before the launch of the election schedule.

The Indian democracy is changing its form and is eroding in its essence culturally, legally and politically. The Modi Sarkar will turn no stone unturned to feign the middle-class Hindus’ support for the one-party system that is developing swiftly. Soon, the Ganges will carry away the ashes of Indian democracy if plausible sense is not poured into the radicalized minds.


The writer is a student of Politics at Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad.

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