New Delhi, June 25: BJP veteran LK Advani, one of the prominent opposition leaders jailed by the Indira Gandhi-led Congress government during the Emergency, was not invited to an event where his party honoured those who went to jail during the period.
Party president Amit Shah had earlier blamed the Emergency at the Congress party’s ‘dictatorial mindset’, while addressing party leaders at a programme organised on the 40th anniversary of its imposition.
Amit Shah said: “The Emergency was the result of a dictatorship mindset. The root cause of emergency is when you don’t listen to the view of the others.”
The BJP chief further said: “I don’t hesitate in saying that ours is the strongest democracy in the world,” adding “I pay respects to all those who struggled to keep democracy alive during Emergency.”
Recalling the post-Emergency period, Shah said, “With the declaration of Emergency, political leaders from all across nation were put in jail on June 26, 1975.”
The Congress leader, Digvijay Singh, recalled as to how the party under former prime minister Indira Gandhi’s leadership was rejected by the people post the Emergency.
Speaking to media persons in Jammu on Thursday, he said the other political parties should take lessons from this episode and not try to ruin the country’s democratic system.
Digvijay Singh said: “Indira Gandhi herself had sought apology for the imposition of Emergency. The party was even punished for that. We want others to learn a lesson from such an episode and no one should try to ruin the democratic system of a country.”
Indira Gandhi had imposed emergency in the country on June 25, 1975 after the Allahabad High Court and subsequently the Supreme Court found her election to the Lok Sabha ‘null and void’.
During this 22-month period, Gandhi invoked Article 352 of the Constitution to grant herself ‘extraordinary powers’ and launched a massive crackdown on civil liberties and political rivals, arresting opposition leaders like Vijayaraje Scindia, Jaiprakash Narayan, Morarji Desai, Chaudhary Charan Singh, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Lal Krishna Advani.
The Emergency officially ended on March 23, 1977, with Indira Gandhi having released all political prisoners earlier that year. Fresh elections were called, with the Congress losing by a large margin, resulting in the Janata Party’s Morarji Desai becoming the first non-Congress prime minister of India.
In an interview given to an English daily earlier this month, Advani had said that he did not see any sign in India’s current polity that assured him of any outstanding aspect of leadership, adding that he did not have the confidence that a situation like the Emergency would not be repeated in the country.
(With Agency Inputs)