Authoritarian India

The State of the World's Largest Democracy

Indian policemen march near a poster of Jayalalitha in the southern Indian city of Madras, May 2004.    STR New / Reuters

When Narendra Modi became India’s prime minister in 2014, observers saw his ascent as a victory for authoritarian populism. Now, as Modi’s government reaches its two-year mark, a fresh round of regional elections has produced similar verdicts. In West Bengal, voters reelected the autocratic chief minister, Mamata Banerjee, with a spectacular margin. In Tamil Nadu, they reelected the controversial Jayalalitha Jayaram, who has cultivated a cult of personality that politicians and journalists have compared with the one around North Korea’s Kim Il Sung. In Assam, Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) went from winning the fifth-largest number of seats in 2011 to winning the largest number, thanks primarily to a campaign based on Modi’s charismatic appeal.

The success of authoritarian leaders in India appears to be part of a global trend, encompassing Rodrigo Duterte’s recent presidential victory in the Philippines, Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s 2014 presidential win in

Loading, please wait...

To read the full article

Related Articles

This site uses cookies to improve your user experience. Click here to learn more.