Experts have expressed serious concerns over the downgrading of India’s status from ‘the world’s largest democracy to an ‘electoral autocracy’ and from a “Free Country” to a “Partly Free Country” in the international reports.
They expressed their views in a group discussion held by Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH) here on the topic of the impact of the upcoming Assembly Elections in five states and the responsibilities of voters.
Initiating the discussion on the topic, JIH Secretary Malik Motasim Khan has said that elections are very important to a democracy. “Through the elections, people can show their power by choosing their favourite representatives and rejecting the undesirable ones. The people use their voting power to correct their past mistakes and throw out incompetent representatives and this is a great opportunity for them,” he added. Pointing out that elections are now using as a tool to divide the people rather than unite them, the JIH Secretary talked about the present atmosphere where sedition charges are being slapped on trivial matters, students and journalists are being put behind bars, people are facing troubles only for speaking out on the issues and even questions are being raised on the judiciary.
Malik Motasim said, “the atmosphere created by some political parties in recent years, seems that attempts are being made to disintegrate the people and the country under the guise of elections. This is very harmful to our country. Therefore, recent international reports have branded India as partly free which is heading toward the democratic autocracy.” He was referring to the annual report of Sweden’s V-Dem Institute, which has downgraded India from ‘the world’s largest democracy to an ‘electoral autocracy’ while just days before the US watchdog Freedom House’s report graded it from a “Free Country” to a “Partly Free Country”.
Expressing serious concerns over the international reports related to India, senior journalist Prashant Tandon said, “we can neither deny them nor call them biased reports as the gravity of the situation of the country is obvious. Democracy is an institution that runs based on public opinion. Raising issues before voting is very important in forming a government. Instead of voting on the issues like education, health, cleanliness, employment, human rights, development and industry, we vote in the name of religion and caste. Now the politics of polarization has emerged based on hatred for some years. This is not good for a democratic country. In such a situation, this is the prime responsibility of the citizens to be alert while voting, keeping in view the interest and development of the country and elect only honest representatives.”