PM Modi, BJP recall 'dark days' of Emergency after Opposition's 'democracy under threat' chant

PM Modi, BJP recall 'dark days' of Emergency after Opposition's 'democracy under threat' chant

New Delhi, Jun 25 (PTI) Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his cabinet colleagues on Sunday recalled the "dark days" of Emergency, describing those days as an "unforgettable period" in the country’s history that was "totally opposite" to the Constitutional values.

On the 48th anniversary of the Emergency declared by the then prime minister Indira Gandhi in 1975, several Union ministers, including Amit Shah, Rajnath Singh, Anurag Thakur, Kiren Rijiju, Smriti Irani, Pralhad Joshi, Nitin Gadkari, and Arjun Ram Meghwal, lashed out at the Congress, saying its leadership had jailed millions overnight, keeping the "ego of a family above national interest"."I pay homage to all those courageous people who resisted the Emergency and worked to strengthen our democratic spirit. The #DarkDaysOfEmergency remain an unforgettable period in our history, totally opposite to the values our Constitution celebrates," Prime Minister Modi said in a tweet.

The BJP’s strong recall of the Emergency came days after the opposition parties, including the Congress, in Patna accused the Modi-led government of "trampling democratic rights" and "undermining democratic institutions".

Union Home Minister Amit Shah alleged that the imposition of Emergency was a "selfish" power struggle and continues to remain a symbol of Congress' "dictatorial mentality".

"On this day in 1975, a family imposed an Emergency in the country, taking away the rights of the people and killing democracy, fearing losing power from their hands," Shah said in a tweet in Hindi.

"Imposition of Emergency for selfish power struggle is a symbol of Congress' dictatorial mentality and an indelible taint on the party," he said.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said, "Today, democracy is alive in India due to the contribution of those who fought during the Emergency, went to jail and suffered torture. The coming generations of India can never forget their contribution."

BJP president J P Nadda also took to Twitter to slam the imposition of Emergency.

"On June 25, 1975, a family due to its dictatorial tendencies killed the country's great democracy and imposed a stigma like Emergency," he said.

He said the tyranny of hundreds of years of foreign rule pales in comparison to the "ruthlessness" of the Emergency.

"In such difficult times, I bow down to all the patriots who fought for the establishment of democracy by enduring immense tortures," Nadda said. BJP put out a series of tweets recalling how civic rights and press freedom were suspended during the "painful period of unbridled incarcerations, atrocities and torture".

"Around 1,40,000 people were arrested without trial during the Emergency period," the BJP said on Twitter and attached a poster with Indira Gandhi's photo along with the words "the darkest chapter of Indian democracy".

"The repressive policies, power-hungry and dictatorial mentality of the Congress imposed an Emergency on June 25, 1975 and put an indelible stain on Indian democracy," Information and Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur said.

"Due to its ambition, the Congress leadership put millions of innocent people in jail overnight, put a lock on the freedom of the press, took away the freedom of expression of the people. The ego of a family and a person was kept above the interest of the country," Thakur said.

Union minister Smriti Irani tweeted a five-minute video with the hashtag #DarkDaysOfEmergency, which narrated the events leading to the Emergency, and alleged brutalities by the Congress-led government during the period.

"Freedom of press was choked, and the judiciary's arms cut off," it said.

Union minister Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted a two-minute clip from Prime Minister's monthly radio programme 'Mann Ki Baat' where he had talked about the alleged atrocities committed against supporters of democracy.

"The emergency declared on June 25, 1975 by an insecure and authoritarian ruler will always be remembered as a crushing blow to democracy & human rights. It also puts under spotlight, a particular family's & political outfit's arrogance & lust to cling to power," Puri said on Twitter.

Union minister Piyush Goyal also lashed out at the Congress over Emergency. “Emergency was imposed only because the court had declared then PM Indira Gandhi-led Congress government a corrupt government and said that she cannot hold any post for six years,” Goyal told reporters in Jaipur.

Several chief ministers of BJP-ruled states paid tributes to the people who raised their voice against the Emergency.

Speaking at an event in Noida, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said, "The day of June 25, 1975, is known as black day in the history of Indian democracy. But during that time, India had witnessed the struggle and sacrifices of those who had put their everything on the line to save democracy and the freedom of media. They showed their will to go to any extent to fight for democracy."

In Guwahati, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma rued that the then president, who had signed the ordinance, and the then Congress national chief were from the state.

"The president who signed the order was an Assamese. It was the first time that our state had gifted the nation its president, but with his hand, the order for Emergency was signed," Sarma said, referring to then president of the country Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed.

Then All India Congress Committee chief was Debakanta Baruah, another Assamese, whose "India is Indira and Indira is India" statement has gone down in history, Sarma said.

Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar also attacked the Congress for the imposition of the Emergency.

The Emergency remained an “unforgettable phase” in the history of the nation and it was "totally opposite" to the constitutional values, he said, adding, “People suffered torture in jails and did agitations for the restoration of democracy, we should remember all such warriors.” PTI SKU PK AG KIS SSG CHS KVK