India has not only grown more mature since the Emergency which was declared in 1975, but also its legal system and countervailing centers of power are strong enough to withstand and prevent dictatorial governance, whether from the present dispensation or from other parties, regional or national, whose top-rung leaders are as authoritarian and autocratic, says the periodical India Legal.
In a story ‘Who’s Afraid of The Emergency?’, it shares the views of many thinkers, including former Law Minister Dr. H.R. Bhardwaj, eminent legal personalities like Justice Mukul Mudgal and Rajeev Dhawan and BJP intellectuals like Seshadri Chari where they talk about it in the present context.
The consensus is that India has not only grown more mature since the Emergency, but also that its legal system and countervailing centers of power are strong enough to withstand and prevent dictatorial governance, whether from the present government or from other parties, regional or national, whose top-rung leaders are as authoritarian and autocratic.
They feel that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) stalwart Lal Krishna Advani, who has been in electoral politics for a long time, has set the tone for a national debate with his remarks on Emergency .
Dr. Bhardwaj says Advani should not mince his words and speak up.
“Advani should make his position clear on this. What does he actually want to say? Why is he mincing words? Advani should come out and openly say that he feels that the current regime is moving towards dictatorship. Emergency was there 40 years ago. So many governments have changed. If he has seen something coming, he should warn us. Are there restrictions on him or others in the party? He must speak up,” Dr. Bhardwaj told India Legal in an interview.
Dr. Bhardwaj’s remark comes at a time when the Congress has questioned Prime Minister Modi’s silence on the controversy surrounding his Cabinet colleagues and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders.
An article published in India Legal says for the first time, the Congress-oblivious to the irony-raised the Emergency bogey and characterized Modi as a dictator-in-the-making.
Prime Minister Modi, who has full command over his party, will deal with it through the eminently democratic means of reshuffling his Cabinet. The controversy surrounding External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj, Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani and Rajasthan Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje has come as a major setback for the government.
“If Modi is under pressure because his ministers can’t keep their noses clean, in all likelihood, he will deal with it through the eminently democratic means of reshuffling his cabinet. A rap on the knuckles and/or a possible reassignment for Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley and Smriti Irani and life goes on. Even Rajasthan chief minister Vasundhara Raje, who commands the loyalty of a majority of BJP MLAs and thus can bully the party president into publicly declaring support, knows she cannot indefinitely cock a snook at the center,” says an article by Bhavdeep Kang.
The article recalls that in 2012 Advani was outraged by the arrest of political cartoonist and anti-corruption crusader Aseem Trivedi and moved to say: “I have started wondering: Is today’s political set-up worse even than the Emergency? Aseem Trivedi has been arrested, and charged with sedition, an offence punishable with life imprisonment!”
The article recalls that Advani was missing from the recent BJP’s anti-Emergency show, organized by the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Foundation.