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Emergency, India’s darkest period: PM criticises Congress

Describing Emergency as one of India’s “darkest periods”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today attacked the Congress for trampling over Indian democracy, saying the nation was bound with chains and turned into a jail 40 years back due to “lust for power”.

Utilising the 40th anniversary of Emergency to target the the then Indira Gandhi-led Congress goernment, Modi also said a vibrant liberal democracy is the key to progress and that everything should be done to strengthen democratic ideals and ethos.

“We mark 40 years of one of India’s darkest periods–the Emergency, when the then political leadership trampled over our democracy,” he tweeted.

Emergency was declared on June 25, 1975 and continued till March 21, 1977, and the period was characterised by a brutal suppression of civil liberties and and arrest of key political leaders who opposed Gandhi’s action.

“A vibrant liberal democracy is the key to progress. Let us do everything possible to further strengthen our democratic ideals & ethos,” he said.

The Prime Minister recalled that lakhs of people had resisted the Emergency declared by Gandhi.

“We are very proud of the lakhs of people, who resisted the Emergency & whose efforts ensured that our democratic fabric is preserved,” he said.

“Inspired by the call of JP, several men & women across India selflessly immersed themselves in the movement to safeguard our democracy,” Modi said, referring to Jaiprakash Narain.

The Prime Minister said the Emergency brings back many memories and that youngsters had learnt a lot during the anti-Emergency movement.

“Personally, the Emergency brings back many memories. As youngsters, we learnt a lot during the anti-Emergency movement.

“Emergency was a great opportunity to work with a wide spectrum of leaders & organisations fighting for the same goal- return of democracy,” he said.

Modi also referred to Emergency while speaking at the launch of Smart Cities Mission, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation and Housing for All Missions here.

“Nobody can forget June 25-26 in the history of India. 40 years back, the country was bound with chains of emergency and turned into a jail for the lust for power.

“Lakhs of patriots nursing the dream of “Sampoorna Kranti” under the leadership of JP were jailed. Newspaper offices were locked and the radio aired only what the government then wanted,” the Prime Minister said.

A day after Union Cabinet chaired by him decided to set up a national memorial for socialist icon Jai Prakash Narayan in his birthplace in poll-bound Bihar, the Prime Minister said that the memorial will always be an inspiration to democracy loving citizens of the country.

Expressing joy over the Cabinet’s decision to set up the memorial, he said it will always be an inspiration and guiding light for democracy lovers and citizens of this country.