Emergency was ploy for dictatorship: Jaitley

Emergency was ploy for dictatorship: Jaitley

A "phoney" emergency was declared in the country in 1975 when rule of law was replaced by a "politically dangerous" principle that used Constitutional provisions to turn democracy into a "Constitutional dictatorship", Union Minister Arun Jaitley recalled on Sunday.

In a Facebook post on the eve of the 43rd anniversary of imposition of the Emergency that saw "all contrarian views" crushed, Jaitley said a series of setbacks in economy, loss of political goodwill and rising disenchantment with Indira Gandhi led to the imposition of the measure. Gandhi imposed the Emergency on the midnight of June 25, 1975.

Jaitley, then a student leader who was arrested then, said on June 12, the Allahabad High Court that declared Gandhi's election as null and void set the ball rolling for the imposition of Emergency. Demonstrations were held at her residence that the judgement should not be accepted.

"The rule of law was sought to be replaced by a politically dangerous principle that Indira Gandhi was indispensable. A situation was created for the party to rally behind her," he said adding the opposition upped the ante demanding her resignation.

Jaitley said the tragedy of Gandhi was that she preferred "popular slogans over sound and sustainable" policies.

Emphasising that there was no need to declare a "second Emergency" as Emergency was already in place following 1971 war, he said Sidhartha Shankar Ray asked her to impose Emergency on account of internal disturbances. Gandhi also suspended key fundamental rights also.