Singling out Congress and the Gandhi family over imposition of the Emergency, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said the draconian measure was a "sin" of that party and the Constitution was misused for "one family".
Singling out Congress and the Gandhi family over imposition of the Emergency, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said the draconian measure was a “sin” of that party and the Constitution was misused for “one family”. In a fusillade against the main opposition party at an event organised by the BJP here to mark the 43rd anniversary of Emergency, a combative Modi launched a no-holds-barred attack on the Congress and the (Gandhi) Parivar (family). In an apparent bid to deflate the Opposition’s charge that his government was imposing an “undeclared Emergency” in the country, Modi said there was no difference in the “psyche” of the Congress during Emergency and now.
The Constitution was misused “for one family” while imposing the Emergency, Modi said. The entire country was turned into a jail for selfish personal interest of that family,” he added. Rubbishing Opposition claims on alleged crisis in the judiciary and attacks on media persons during the BJP’s rule, the prime minister said judges were terrorised and judiciary was devalued during the Emergency. “When (iconic Bollywood singer) Kishore Kumar ji refused to sing for them (Congress) during Emergency, his songs were not allowed to be played on the radio,” he said.
Media persons were banned from writing anything against the then government, Modi said. “Emergency was a black spot on democracy. Marking its anniversary as black day is not just to criticise the Congress for its sin of imposing Emergency but also to make the present and future generations aware of what transpired and to learn lessons to protect the Constitution and democracy,” Modi said. “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,” Modi said, adding his government was committed to safeguarding the Constitution and protecting democracy. Modi also lashed out at the Congress for “spreading illusionary fear” about the Constitution, Dalits and minorities facing danger (in the BJP-led regime).
“Congress can never improve. For promotion of self interest, they destroyed their own party,” he said. “We would never have imagined that in the lust for power and the mad devotion to a family, those who talk big things about democracy and Constitution had turned the country into a jail. Big leaders were put behind bars,” Modi said. “An atmosphere of fear prevailed then. We will rarely find another example of how the Constitution was misused as a tool for a family,” Modi said.
Whenever the Congress party and “this family” senses loss of power, it starts “crying” that the country is passing through crisis and that only it can save the country, he said. The effort to impeach Chief Justice of India Deepak Misra recently was made to “scare the judiciary” after charges were framed against “them” (UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Congress president Rahul Gandhi in the ‘National Herald’ case), he said. Modi accused the Congress of criticising EVMs and the functioning of the Election Commission after they were reduced to 44 seats from 400 in Lok Sabha.
“They did not question the EVMs after the recent Karnataka elections (where Congress formed government along with JD-S in a post-poll arrangement),” he said. Modi hailed late Ramnath Goenka of the Indian Express, Kuldeep Nayar and the Statesman newspaper for “standing up” against the Emergency. “Many of them were not our supporters either. Nayar is critical of us. But they fought for democracy, we salute them,” he added. On the triple talaq issue, Modi said, “We raised voice against triple talaq. Why? Because the Constitution gives equal rights to all the sisters of India. But they (Congress) are more concerned about vote bank than democracy and the Constitution.”