CPI-M warns of ‘creeping authoritarianism’ in India

New Delhi, June 24 (IANS) India is faced with “a creeping move towards an authoritarian order” and the correct lessons must be drawn from the 1975-77 Emergency, the CPI-M said on Wednesday.

Having got a majority in the Lok Sabha, the Narendra Modi government has shown increasing contempt for parliament, Communist Party of India-Marxist journal “People’s Democracy” said in an editorial.

“The spate of ordinances, the attempt to denigrate the Rajya Sabha and the centralisation of all powers in the hands of the prime minister are part of the ongoing process under neo-liberalism to restrict democracy and take away vital decision-making powers and policies out of the purview of the elected bodies,” it said.

“So what we are faced with is a creeping move towards an authoritarian order.

“What is required is a multi-pronged fight against neo-liberalism, Hindutva communalism and authoritarianism.

“They are all fundamentally linked together. Drawing the correct lessons from the Emergency of four decades ago will help us in this current struggle,” the editorial said.

June 25 will mark the 40th anniversary of the internal emergency which then prime minister Indira Gandhi imposed and which lasted for 19 months.

The editorial pointed out that the CPI-M was the first party to warn against the danger of one party authoritarian rule at its ninth party Congress held in 1972.

It said a question was being debated on whether an Emergency like situation can recur again in India. “This question is being posed in the wrong way.

“The issue to be considered is whether authoritarianism can once again threaten the political system.

Using Emergency powers to usher in an authoritarian regime is not likely to happen again. But what is likely is that authoritarianism in other forms can threaten the democratic system,” it said.

It went on: “Just as the basic causes for the Emergency four decades ago were a crisis of the political system, problems of stability and economic discontent, at present too, all the ingredients for the rise of authoritarianism have matured.

“The consequences of neo-liberalism, the rise of the Hindutva communal forces, the degeneration of the political parties and the corrosion of the institutions of the state have all combined to presage a creeping authoritarianism.”

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