Senior Congress leader P Chidambaram on Friday said that there was a real “threat to the law and order” situation around the time Indira Gandhi imposed Emergency in 1975, however, it was a “wrong answer” to that threat. The leader also said that if no action was taken, the threat could have escalated at that time. The former Union Minister further said that the current crisis which grand old party faces today, can’t be compared to the situation into the post-emergency era when it was able to revive. The former finance minister also termed Mohan Bhagwat-led Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh as a “formidable political machinery”. He further blamed Congress’ state of affairs on a weak organisational apparatus, he said, “In 10 years we were in power, we neglected the organisation. The party machinery was neglected by PCC (state Congress) chiefs, district chiefs.” Chidambaram made remarks after he was asked if Indira Gandhi clamped Emergency to protect her authority or there was any real threat to the country’s security.
“I can say that Emergency was a wrong answer. The threat was real. The answer was wrong. Perhaps a more secure Indira Gandhi may have found a better answer — she was advised that this is the way to handle the situation, and it can be retrieved after a few months,” the Congress leader was quoted as saying by The Indian Express. He added, “it turned out to be a monster — a genie out of the bottle. It went completely out of control, especially in North India”. Chidambaram was speaking at the launch of Indira: India’s Most Powerful Prime Minister, authored by senior journalist Sagarika Ghose. The discussion moderated by senior journalist Karan Thapar also saw the participation of former Union minister Arun Shourie.
Chidambaram also said that aspects of emergency era — the muzzling of the press, intimidation of intellectuals and writers, the use of agencies not only against politicians (but also against) ordinary citizens (and) entities, especially NGOs; and above all the attempt to stifle dissent – are quite visible in today’s time.