Instead of 50-year-old Emergency, talk about today's undeclared one: Kharge to Modi

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge says last 10 years of Modi's undeclared Emergency was ended by the people in the general elections

Congress MP Rahul Gandhi holds a copy of the Indian Constitution (photo: PTI)
Congress MP Rahul Gandhi holds a copy of the Indian Constitution (photo: PTI)

NH Political Bureau

The BJP on Monday said it will launch a nationwide programme on the 1975 Emergency to "expose" the Congress' "authoritarianism" and its "disregard for the Constitution", prompting a strong backlash from the Congress.

"BJP national president J.P. Nadda will address the main event 'Dark Days of Democracy' at the party's central office in New Delhi tomorrow at 12:30 pm," the party's chief spokesperson Anil Baluni said in a statement. BJP leaders, office-bearers and karyakartas will participate in the programmes across the country "to protest" the imposition of the Emergency in 1975.

Baluni said, "The Emergency stands as an unforgettable dark chapter in India's robust democracy. The then-prime minister Indira Gandhi imposed Emergency on the nation on June 25, 1975, marking a severe curtailment of democratic freedoms."

Speaking ahead of the inaugural session of the 18th Lok Sabha on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in similar vein, "Tomorrow is 25 June. 25 June marks 50 years since the blot that was placed on the democracy of India. The new generation of India will never forget that the Constitution of India was completely rejected, every part of the Constitution was torn to pieces, the country was turned into a prison, and democracy was completely suppressed."

Opposition leaders have hit out at Modi for his remark and questioned his government's style of functioning, saying it needed to focus on current issues. “You are reminding us of the 50-year-old Emergency, but have forgotten the last 10 years of Undeclared Emergency, which was ended by the people,” Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge wrote on X.

"He will say this 100 times. Without declaring an Emergency, you are doing this. How long do you want to rule by talking about this?" Kharge was also quoted as saying by news agency ANI.

According to Article 352 of the Constitution, the President can proclaim an Emergency if there is a grave threat to the security of the country — whether by war or external aggression or armed rebellion.

Late on 25 June 1975, then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi announced the imposition of Emergency in a broadcast on All India Radio, shortly after the Supreme Court granted a conditional stay on an Allahabad High Court verdict declaring her election to the Lok Sabha as null and void.

"They will expose how the Congress strangled the Constitution, deprived citizens of their rights, committed atrocities against opposition leaders for 21 months, suppressed the media, silenced truth-tellers, undermined India's democratic integrity and oppressed people under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) and Defence of India Rules (DIR)," Baluni's statement added.

Understandably, it made no mention of the Modi government's ten-year tenure, during which it has violated Constitutional values, influenced the judiciary, influenced the media, suspended a record number of Opposition MPs, remained silent on the violence in Manipur, suspended internet connectivity in Kashmir for months, called the Ayodhya Ram Mandir judgment a consensus, and attempted to change names of places to give them a 'Hindu' identity.

With the Congress and the opposition in general targeting his government over a host of issues, including the choice of pro-tem speaker, Modi's customary pre-session remarks carried barbs for his rivals as he asserted that people want "debate and diligence and not drama and disturbance" in Parliament.

To which Congress MP and general-secretary (communications) Jairam Ramesh demanded consensus and attendance from PM Modi himself.

In his post, Kharge also wrote, "The nation was hoping that Modi ji would say something on many important issues. He will show some sympathy towards the youth regarding the paper leak in NEET and other recruitment examinations, but he did not take any responsibility for the massive rigging and corruption of his government."

Referring to the Kanchanjunga Express tragedy on 17 June, Kharge added, "Modi ji also remained silent about the recent train accident in West Bengal and utter mismanagement of the Railways."

Raising a long-standing grievance, Kharge also wrote, "Manipur has been in the grip of violence for the last 13 months, but Modi ji did not bother to visit the state nor did he express any concern about the fresh violence in his speech today. Be it the floods in Assam and the Northeast, the backbreaking Price Rise, the historic fall of the Rupee, or be it the Exit Poll-Stock Market scam, Modi ji is mum."

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