BJP-Congress slugfest on national Emergency anniversary

BJP-Congress slugfest on national Emergency anniversary

Sambit Patra, former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and others also joined the online campaign

BJP also raked up the controversial issue of the "forced sterilisation" during the Emergency. Credit: Reuters/PTI File Photos

The 46th anniversary of the imposition of Emergency kicked up a political slugfest with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday reminding of those "dark days" that can never be forgotten and Opposition leaders flagging "undeclared emergency" under the current dispensation.

"India remembers the Emergency as a dark period during which every institution was subverted and an atmosphere of fear was created. Not only people but also ideas and artistic freedom were held hostage to power politics.

"This is how Congress trampled over our democratic ethos. It can never be forgotten. The period from 1975 to 1977 witnessed a systematic destruction of institutions," PM Modi tweeted with the hashtag #DarkDaysOfEmergency.

Soon ministers in the Modi government as well senior BJP leaders mounted a frontal attack on the Congress dusting off 'tales of persecution" during late Indira Gandhi's regime.

Also read: Can never forget dark days of Emergency, PM Modi says on 46th anniversary

Home Minister Amit Shah said, "Congress murdered democracy on this day in 1975 for its lust and arrogance of power. Emergency was imposed to trample on voices that were raised against a family. It was a dark chapter in India's democracy."

BJP chief J P Nadda praised the role of Jan Sangh and RSS in fighting the Emergency. "A grateful nation remembers thousands of unsung heroes from Bharatiya Jan Sangh and RSS, who led the anti-Emergency movement from the front.' 'Emergency period was a Black Spot for the country as Democracy was murdered by Indira Gandhi for her vested political interests," he said.

BJP also raked up the controversial issue of the "forced sterilisation" during the Emergency for which Sanjay Gandhi was blamed in the past.

Ironically, Sanjay Gandhi's wife Maneka Gandhi and his son Varun Gandhi are Lok Sabha MPs from BJP.

"Congress-inflicted atrocities that India will never forget. 1.1 crore people were forcefully sterilized during the period of Emergency," the BJP Twitter handle posted.

The Prime Minister also chose the occasion to recall "the horrors of Emergency when freedom of press & freedom of expression were suppressed."

"It is a blot on our democracy," he said remembering all those greats who resisted the Emergency and protected Indian democracy.

AICC Communication Department Chairman Randeep Singh Surjewala hit back at the Prime Minister's Emergency remarks.

"Says a PM, who is synonymous with three “S” - Suppress, Stifle & Subjugate. A PM-who has undermined Parliament, A PM-who has disdain for Constitution, A PM-who has eroded Institutions, A PM-who has trampled Democracy, shouldn’t preach, for India is under ‘Modi-gency’ for 7 yrs," the Congress leader tweeted.

Swaraj India leader Prashant Bhushan said, "46 years ago, an Emergency was declared, rights suspended, media censored & 100,000 placed under detention. We thought that India would never emerge from that night. We did. Today we live under an undeclared emergency with rights institutions under siege. We will emerge from this too."

Asking people to pledge to do everything possible to strengthen India’s democratic spirit, and live up to the values enshrined in the Constitution, Modi recalled "On June 25, 1975, the nation was turned into a prison. For 21 months, numerous atrocities were committed. Even in that darkness, there were also those who fought for democracy."

He asked readers to visit the NaMo App to know more.

Extending the attack for Emergency to the current Congress leadership, BJP MP Baijayant Jay Panda while recalling Emergency excesses, said, "Beware its heirs who make false equivalences to dilute their stigma."

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who had joined BJP in 2015 after a long stint in Congress, said, "National Emergency was not done to thwart any attempt of political violence or sedition. It was a sheer manifestation of Gandhi's anger & her attempt to enjoy political supremacy."

Tagging to hashtags #Emergency1975HauntsIndia and #DarkDaysOfEmergency, Union Minister Kiren Rijiju said called it the darkest chapter in Azad India’s history and added "I wish Congress Party realises how our country suffered under its tyrannical regime."

Party spokesperson Sambit Patra, former Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan and others also joined the online campaign on the issue.

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