An Illiberal India?

Journal of Democracy

An Illiberal India?
Sumit Ganguly
Publication Date
January 2020
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In May 2019, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi won a second five-year term with a parliamentary majority unprecedented in recent decades (303 of 545 total seats). Under his leadership, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has for all practical purposes abandoned any pretense of upholding India’s constitutional commitment to the values of secularism, political pluralism, and intellectual freedom. The BJP’s antisecular, majoritarian vision threatens liberal democracy in India on three levels: societal, ideological, and institutional. If the party implements this vision, India will probably remain an electoral democracy, but its claim to be a liberal democracy—a country of freewheeling debate and discussion, robust check-and-balance institutions, and solid safeguards for rights and freedoms—will become a thing of the past.


Ganguly, Sumit. “An Illiberal India?” Journal of Democracy 31, no. 1 (2020): 193–202.