Describing the Emergency as the worst phase which the nation witnessed, RSS ideologue K.N. Govindacharya on Thursday said that people close to former prime minister Indira Gandhi had filled her mind with an impression that she was the ‘saviour’ of the country.
“I think people close to Indira Gandhi filled her mind with an impression that she was a saviour…It is very difficult to be polite when in power. So, she began to think that she is a saviour in true sense and must do the welfare of the nation and those opposing do not know the nation well,” Govindacharya told ANI
“A few sycophants like Dev Kant Barooah began to say that ‘India is Indira and Indira is India’….. And those who wanted a settlement between Indira ji and Jayprakash Narain and were correct appeared to be enemies,” he said.
The RSS ideologue further pointed out that Indira Gandhi was post the Emergency given a befitting reply in the polls by the people of the country.
“She should have stepped down, but no she wanted to be in power. So, all people gave her a befitting reply in the polls. Both Indiraji and her son (Sanjay Gandhi) lost,” he said.
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’. Formally proclaimed by then-president Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, the decision to enforce the Emergency was taken without the approval of the then-union cabinet.
With protests and strikes sweeping the country after the Supreme Court’s judgement, the government officially stated that the country was ‘paralysed’ after a hard-fought war with Pakistan and justified the imposition of the Emergency by citing threats to national security.
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.
Other atrocities committed by the government during this period include the widespread censuring of all media, the detention of people by the police without notification, abuse and torture of detainees, and the forced sterilisation drives undertaken by Gandhi’s younger son Sanjay.
The Emergency officially ended on March 23, 1977, with 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.