‘Unfortunate that questions are being raised on Indian democracy,’ says PM Modi

Prime minister Narendra Modi tore into opposition leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday for saying that the Indian democracy was under attack during his visit to London.

The member of the opposition Congress party, who recently concluded his 136-day-long march across the country, was at Cambridge University where he pointed out that the "basic structure" of Indian democracy was under “brutal attack”.

"The media, the institutional framework, the judiciary, parliament, these are all under attack," he said in an interview with Indian Journalists' Association.

Shortly after his statement, ministers and politicians from the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) criticised the opposition leader.

Leading the attack was Mr Modi, who accused Mr Gandhi of insulting the people of India.

"It is unfortunate that from the soil of London, questions are being raised on Indian democracy," Mr Modi said on Sunday in the poll-bound southern state of Karnataka.

"Some people continuously question India's democracy... They are insulting the people of Karnataka, the great traditions of India and its 1.3 billion people," he said.

Defence minister Rajnath Singh in the parliament on Monday called on Mr Gandhi to apologise in front of the House for "insulting India in London". The minister urged the entire Lok Sabha to condemn his speech.

In the upper House of parliament, federal minister Piyush Goyal said it was "shameful" that a senior member had insulted the country's democracy on foreign land.

Giriraj Singh, a federal minister from BJP, accused him of maligning the reputation of the country.

Both the Houses were adjourned for the day following an uproar by the opposition and ruling MPs over the democracy row.

Members of the Congress party rallied behind Mr Gandhi while accusing the prime minister of running the government like "a dictator".

"Those crushing, destroying democracy are talking of saving it," Congress party chief Mallikarjun Kharge told reporters.

Rights groups have raised the rise of the BJP’s systematic discrimination against religious minorities and stifling of peaceful dissent in an effort to tighten its grip on power.

India ranked 108 in the electoral democracy index 2023, according to a recent report by the V-Dem (Varieties of Democracy) Institute at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.