Congress Leader Rahul Gandhi upped his attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in an online interaction held on Tuesday, 16 March, with Brown University faculty and students, saying that Iraq’s dictator Saddam Hussein and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi used to win elections as well.
His comments came days after a report by Varieties of Democracy (V-Dem), a Sweden-based institute which downgraded India to an “electoral autocracy,” citing a decline in democratic freedoms. Freedom House too recently shifted India’s status from a ‘free’ country to ‘partly-free.’
While interacting with Brown University professor Ashutosh Varshney, Rahul Gandhi said, “Saddam Hussein and Gaddafi used to have elections. They used to win them. It wasn’t like they weren’t voting but there was no institutional framework to protect that vote.”
He further added: “An election is not simply people going and pressing a button on a voting machine. An election is about narrative. An election is about institutions that make sure that the framework in the country is operating properly, an election is about the judiciary being fare and a debate taking place in parliament. So you need those things for a vote to count.”
Earlier, a US-based think tank named Freedom House had shifted India’s status from a ‘free’ country to ‘partly-free,’ claiming that political rights and civil liberties were wearing away in India, since Narendra Modi came to power in 2014.
The Indian government however, disproved the report by Freedom House and called it “misleading, incorrect and misplaced.”
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