2020 has been a bad year for the health of Indians and for the health of Indian democracy too. The Modi-Shah regime, which is authoritarian by instinct and belief, has used the pandemic to further undermine the processes of constitutional democracy and strengthen its hold over State and society. In pursuit of its ambitions, the regime has launched a multi-pronged attack on the Indian Parliament, Indian federalism, the Indian press and Indian civil society organisations. Let us consider these in turn.

In the years he was chief minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi displayed a consistent contempt for legislative procedure. A report compiled after he had been a decade in office showed that of all the chief ministers of Gujarat since the state’s formation, Modi convened the least assembly sittings.

Months would pass in which the assembly would not meet; when it did, a day would be enough to dispose of matters at hand, with much time spent mourning members who had passed away. As is well known, apart from disregarding inputs from MLAs from the Opposition and even from his own party, Chief Minister Modi rarely consulted his own cabinet about major policy decisions.

Modi has carried this contempt for consultation with him to New Delhi. For...

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