The reverberations from the 'downgrade' of India's democratic ranking by US-based think tank Freedom House last week are continuing. Using assessments of political and civil liberties, Freedom House downgraded India from 'free' to 'partly free' in its latest report.

The Freedom House report figured in the latest episode of Global Public Square (GPS), a weekly news show on CNN on Sunday, hosted by veteran journalist Fareed Zakaria. Fareed Zakaria, who is of Indian origin, had a segment on ‘how freedom is eroding in the world’s largest democracy’. Zakaria referred to the Freedom House report and alleged restrictions on the press by the Narendra Modi government.

BJP Rajya Sabha MP Subramanian Swamy on Monday linked the negative coverage on Zakaria's show to the Joe Biden administration's 'second bow string' strategy on India, which he described as "Praise India's democratic tradition and attack Modi as a dictator." Swamy warned this view is a "growing consensus abroad which we in BJP must address". A second bow string is a metaphor that refers to having an additional strategy or resource that one can use in case of necessity.

Swamy tweeted, "CNN's Fareeq Zakaria has indicated in his latest broadcast what I think is Biden Government's second bow string: Praise India's democratic tradition and attack Modi as a dictator. It is easy to dismiss this, but it is a growing consensus abroad which we in BJP must address."

Interestingly, Swamy also re-tweeted an article by a follower that referred to a claim on Modi in the last book of late president Pranab Mukherjee. Mukherjee had written in The Presidential Years that "Modi seemed to have employed a rather autocratic style of governance during his first term, as seen by the bitter relationship among the government, the legislature and the judiciary".

While continuing to espouse causes of Hindutva, Swamy has been subtly critical of the Modi government on multiple issues, including its handling of the economy, the farmers' protests and the standoff with China over Ladakh. Swamy has repeatedly complained Modi had ignored his suggestions.