When BJP whips a 43-year-old episode up, its desperation shows

BJP forgets that Indira Gandhi was back in power within 33 months of being voted out in the wake of Emergency. Aggressively invoking it after 43 years is an insult to the Indian voters


Soroor Ahmed

If the Indian electorate could forgive Indira Gandhi for omissions and commissions during the Emergency within 33 months of voting her out of power, 43 years later it would seem futile for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to believe that targeting Congress for the Emergency would yield much political dividend for itself.

Voters threw out the Janata Party government––which they voted so overwhelmingly in March 1977––because it had failed on the governance front and its leaders had started squabbling among themselves.

Performance of the present government would similarly be the main issue in the next Lok Sabha election. Observing the 43rd anniversary of Emergency as ‘Black Day’ and equating Indira Gandhi to Hitler would not bring in votes.

No doubt excesses were committed during the Emergency. Yet people also know that Maneka Gandhi, wife of late Sanjay Gandhi––whose role during the Emergency is very well known––is a minister in Narendra Modi’s cabinet.

In contrast, Rahul Gandhi, then a child, and even Sonia Gandhi had virtually nothing to do with what had happened in the 19 months between June 25-26, 1975 and January 19, 1977, when the election was announced.

If targeting a family or dynastic rule is the objective, then it is not possible by keeping Maneka Gandhi in the cabinet and making her son Varun a BJP MP. People’s memory is short but not so short as to forget such glaring facts.

An objective discussion on developments which led to the imposition of Emergency and its comparison with the present situation is one thing, but observing a ‘Blak Day’ for electoral gains is quite another.

If during the Emergency, journalists started crawling when they were asked to bend, media started crawling the moment the Modi government came to power in 2014

One can fool some people some time but not all the people all the time. This saying has repeatedly been vindicated by voters of India. So, any move to distract people’s attention by raising the bogey of Emergency imposed 43 years ago is not going to work

How can the BJP ignore the fact that almost half of those who voted in 1977 have passed away and the following generation has virtually no idea about Emergency? There may be some academic interest among some youths. Apart from that they are not interested in anything related to what had transpired so long back. They are more concerned about the present as the government has failed to deliver.

Many activists, journalists, writers and old-timers who had strongly opposed the Emergency then are of the view that the situation now is far more serious. There is no shortage of people who feel that there is a state of undeclared Emergency in India since May 2014.

Six-time BJP MLA from Rajasthan. Ghanshyam Tiwary, who was also an old RSS hand, while resigning from the party on the eve of the completion of 43 years of Emergency, claimed that the situation is worse than in those 19 months.

If during the Emergency, journalists started crawling when they were asked to bend, media started crawling the moment the Modi government came to power in 2014.

Instead of doing something good, especially on the economic front and creating jobs, the present regime is indulging in all sorts of rhetoric which is no more working now. They have not learnt from the repeated defeats in the by-polls.

They have no answer to repeatedly asked questions as to how much black-money has returned, what good has demonetisation done and how is it that Nirav Modi, Mehul Choksi, Vijay Mallya, etc., managed to escape after looting thousands of crores.

It often happens that when the popularity starts declining, rulers come up with one fantastic idea after another, not knowing that they do not always work.

But the BJP has not learnt from history.

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