Union Home Minister Amit Shah came down heavily on the Congress on Thursday, saying the interests of one family prevailed over the party and national interests, and questioned why the ‘Emergency mindset’ still remained in the opposition party.
In depth | Emergency: The Dark Age of Indian democracy
45 years after the imposition of Emergency in the country, the Union Home Minister claimed leaders are feeling suffocated in the Congress and the party’s disconnect with people keeps widening.
“On this day, 45 years ago one family’s greed for power led to the imposition of the Emergency. Overnight the nation was turned into a prison. The press, courts, free speech…all were trampled over. Atrocities were committed on the poor and downtrodden,” he said in a series of tweets.
Former prime minister Indira Gandhi had imposed Emergency on June 25, 1975 and it continued till March 21, 1977.
The Home Minister said due to the efforts of lakhs of people, the Emergency was lifted, democracy was restored in India but it remained absent in the Congress.
Emergency in pictures: When democracy came to a standstill
“The interests of one family prevailed over party’s interests and national interests. This sorry state of affairs thrives in today’s Congress too!,” he said.
Referring to a recent Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting, Mr. Shah said senior and younger members raised a few issues but, they were shouted down.
He said a Congress party spokesperson was unceremoniously sacked and the sad truth was that leaders were feeling suffocated in Congress.
Also read: Modi draws parallel with Emergency
“As one of India’s opposition parties, Congress needs to ask itself: Why does the Emergency mindset remain? Why are leaders who don’t belong to one dynasty unable to speak up? Why are leaders getting frustrated in Congress?
“Else, their disconnect with people will keep widening,” he said.
Mr. Shah also shared links of two news reports in his tweets.
The first was related to a recent CWC meeting where Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that he was “not scared of PM Modi” and would continue to attack him, while accusing most leaders of skipping direct criticism of the Prime Minister.
According to the news, Mr. Gandhi flew into a rage when CWC permanent invitee RPN Singh suggested that Congress must ensure that criticism of Mr. Modi on the Chinese incursion was not personal.
The second news report which Mr. Shah shared was on the removal of Sanjay Jha as a spokesperson of the Congress, days after he wrote a newspaper article critical of the party.
In the article published recently, Mr. Jha had said, “The Congress has demonstrated extraordinary lassitude, and its lackadaisical attitude towards its own political obsolescence is baffling…”
“I would like to call a spade a spade here and a shovel: there has been no serious effort to get the party up and running with any sense of urgency,” he had said in the article in a national daily.
Let new generations draw right lessons from Emergency: Prasad
Let the new generations draw the right lessons from Emergency, Union minister and BJP leader Ravi Shankar Prasad said on Thursday while attacking the Congress for its “grossly undemocratic” behaviour which he claimed still continues.
In a series of tweets on the 45th anniversary of imposition of Emergency, he said today is the day “to recall the heroic sacrifices of people of India against the grossly undemocratic behaviour of the Congress Party.”
The “legacy”, Prasad said, “still continues“. “Let the new generations draw the right lessons,” he wrote.
He recalled that after the Emergency was imposed by then prime minister Indira Gandhi, major opposition leaders including Jai Prakash Narayan, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, L.K. Advani, Chandrashekhar, along with scores of citizens, were arrested.
“Ultimately people of India voted massively against the Congress Party in 1977 Lok Sabha election and even Indira Gandhi was defeated and the first non-Congress Govt came to power at Centre,” he said.
The Minister recalled that as an activist of the “JP Movement” from Bihar he fought against the Emergency.