Ahmedabad: Marking the 43rd anniversary of Emergency imposed by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1975 as a “Black Day”, BJP President Amit Shah on Tuesday said mindset of the leaders and not the prevailing situations lead to an Emergency.
“Emergency does not come because of situations and ordinances, it comes due to the mindset of the leader. Ordinance is just the clothing in which it comes. Only those who do not believe in democracy can think about Emergency,” he said addressing party workers here.
Shah said BJP governments too came and went away but the thought of Emergency never crossed their mind.
“We have lost our government for one vote, lost our government in 13 days but never thought about an Emergency. And, when Congress leaders raise concerns about freedom of speech, I urge them to look back when their forefathers crushed democracy in the country,” he said.
Congress, which killed internal democracy for dynastic politics, is in no position to promote democracy in the country, Shah said, adding that the party introduced three evils in the country’s politics – dynasty, casteism and appeasement – and these led to the Emergency.
“I strongly feel Congress and family members of Indira Gandhi do not have any right to talk about freedom of speech. They jailed 140,000 people for 19 months, put restrictions on all newspapers, Akashwani (All India Radio) had become Sarkarwani (government’s mouthpiece).”
Shah said India gave the first republic to the world and it was Congress’ Indira Gandhi who first attempted to destroy the country’s democracy by imposing Emergency, by using Article 356 to topple opposition governments in the states and by muzzling media and people’s voices.
“Emergency is remembered in many ways including as a struggle against the mindset to scuttle democracy. But I wish to say democracy is so deep-rooted in the country that even 100 Indira Gandhis would have failed to wipe out democracy from the country,” he said.
Congress leaders who raise questions about freedom of speech should read about the history of June 26, 1975 to understand how their party misused power to destroy the constitutional institutions of the country and what led to the fall of Congress, once a large party, he said.
Shah said it was the responsibility of all who want to protect the country’s democracy to strengthen the BJP which is neither a party that follows dynastic politics nor casteism or appeasement.