Authoritarianism crushes the spirit. Majoritarianism poisons the mind and the heart. Their rise must be stopped. 

Will these ongoing elections reverse the trend? Most pollsters seem to think so. They believe that Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party are almost certain to win a third successive majority. What happens then? A commentator I otherwise respect, Parakala Prabhakar, has been quoted as saying that if Modi and the BJP win a third term, “there won’t be any more elections in the country”.

The absolute silencing of a democratic Opposition, that Mrs Gandhi and the Congress were able to achieve between 1975 and 1977, will be far harder for Modi and the BJP to accomplish now even if they fulfil their fantasy of winning 370 seats in the Lok Sabha. There will still be popularly elected governments in place in large states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala, West Bengal, Telangana and so on

In the ten years that Narendra Modi has been in power, religious minorities, and particularly Muslims, have been pushed ever further to the margins of Indian politics. They face endemic discrimination in everyday life, on the street, in the marketplace, in schools, hospitals, and offices. BJP MPs and ministers mock and taunt Indian Muslims on a regular basis, their message amplified on WhatsApp and YouTube by their supporters. Textbooks are rewritten to indoctrinate schoolchildren with hostility towards fellow citizens who are not Hindus.