BJP to launch programme against 1975 Emergency to 'expose authoritarianism' of Congress

BJP president JP Nadda will address the main event, titled "Dark Days of Democracy", at its headquarters on Tuesday.
Last Updated : 24 June 2024, 12:23 IST

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New Delhi: 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.

BJP president JP Nadda will address the main event, titled "Dark Days of Democracy", at its headquarters on Tuesday, the party's chief spokesperson Anil Baluni said in a statement.

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.

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."

Over the next 21 months, the then-Congress government held the country's democracy and the Constitution "captive, unleashing countless atrocities on the people, media and opposition leaders", he said.

This period became synonymous with one-sided "Congress-led tyranny" during which civil rights were abolished and dissenting voices unjustly imprisoned, Baluni, who is also an MP, said. "Even today, reading this cursed page added to Indian history on June 25, 1975, continues to evoke deep-seated fear."

"To expose the Congress' authoritarianism and its disregard for the nation's Constitution, the BJP has launched a nationwide programme," he said.

"BJP national president JP Nadda will address the main event 'Dark Days of Democracy' at the party's central office in New Delhi tomorrow at 12:30 pm," he added.

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

The 21-month period was known for forced mass sterlisations, censorship of the press, suspension of constitutional rights and centralisation of power.

Baluni said BJP leaders, officebearers and karyakartas will participate in the programmes across the country "to protest" against the imposition of the Emergency in 1975.

"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)," he added.

Ahead of the first session of the 18th Lok Sabha on Monday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi asserted that his government would strive to take everyone along in his third term and build consensus while also taking a swipe at the Congress over the Emergency, calling it a "black spot" on democracy when the Constitution was "discarded".

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.

Opposition leaders hit back at Modi for his remark and questioned his government's style of functioning, saying it needed to focus on current issues.

Published 24 June 2024, 12:23 IST

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