View from the left: Authoritarian tendencieshttps://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/columns/view-from-the-left-authoritarian-tendencies/

View from the left: Authoritarian tendencies

The CPI’s New Age says the Narendra Modi government is trying to “suppress freedom of expression".

Focusing on the Emergency declared by the Indira Gandhi government, 39 years ago, the CPM’s People’s Demo­cracy says that it heralded “the ­darkest chapter in the history of democracy in independent ­India.” An editorial says, “The defeat of the Emergency after 18 months was an important landmark in the evolution of modern India in the sense that this people’s struggle laid deeper the foundations of democracy in our country — the bulwark that can prevent any future rise of authoritarianism…” The editorial, however, adds that it would be “foolish to be in a stupor” and believe the “dangers of authoritarianism have ceased with the defeat of internal emergency in 1977.”

It is “necessary to recollect that the Janata Party government was born with a basic instability when the political arm of the RSS — the Jan Sangh then — dissolved itself to become part of the Janata Party… This is important to recollect… when there is this new RSS/ BJP government that has assumed the reins of power,” it adds.

The editorial argues that authoritarian ­tendencies are “already casting their dark shadow…” “Instead of the collective responsibility of the Union cabinet, the prime minister alone has been officially assigned the duty of taking decisions on ‘important policy matters’… Likewise, the Union secretaries… are directly summoned by the prime minister and asked to be accountable to him, consciously undermining the autonomy of the minister for the departments under his/ her remit within the collective framework,” the editorial claims.

New government
The CPI’s New Age says the Narendra Modi government is trying to “suppress freedom of expression”. “Modi government is all for suppressing freedom of expression. Within a month at least three cases have been filed for criticising Modi on social media… Media circles are agog with rumours about changes being brought about in a number of media hou­ses to please the new dispensation. Even judiciary is not being spared,” it says. It also claims the ministers of this government are “parroting the ministers of the UPA 2 government on all economic issues…”

“So the Modi government has begun with full vigour to carry forward its agenda of destabilising parliamentary democracy… selling out the national wea­lth, communalising education, imposing divisive cultural nationalism and offering all sops for the real masters, the corporates…” it concludes.

Price rise
Taking on the issue of price rise, the CPI(ML)’s ML Update accuses the new government of “intensifying the blows of price rise all around without even waiting for any discussion in Parliament.”

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“Such an arbitrary and ruthless price rise marks only an accentuation of the UPA’s policies… the common people, the poor, and farmers are feeling the brutal blows of price rise — and these blows are especially painful because they carry the sting of shamelessly broken election promises,” the editorial claims.