Today that is June 25 is the 45th anniversary of the Emergency imposed by the former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The BJP on Thursday lashed out at the Congress on the 45th anniversary of Emergency, reminding it of all the “excesses” during the period. Prime Minister Modi paid homage to all those who participated in the “struggle to protect democracy, withstanding all torture.”
Top BJP leaders, including Home Minister Amit Shah and party president JP Nadda, remembered those who resisted “anti-democratic forces” and slammed the “dynastic grip and totalitarian mindset” of the Congress party. The BJP also posted a blog by late Arun Jaitley, ‘The Emergency Revisited: The circumstances leading to the imposition of Emergency’.
The bleak 21 months when democracy was murdered
Officially issued by President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed under Article 352 of the Constitution because of the prevailing “internal disturbance”, the Emergency was in effect from 25 June 1975 until its withdrawal on 21 March 1977. The order bestowed upon the Prime Minister the authority to rule by decree, allowing elections to be suspended and civil liberties to be curbed.
In the 1971 general elections, the former prime minister came to power with a thumping majority. Congress had won 352 Lok Sabha seats out of 518.
It was on June 12, 1975, when Justice Jagmohan Lal Sinha of the Allahabad High Court ruled on a petition filed by Rajnarayan, a candidate of the United Socialist Party from Rae Bareli. In the petition, Rajnarayan made a slew of allegations against Gandhi which included bribing voters with liquor, misusing Air Force planes for campaigns.
Also, the court found Gandhi guilty of misuse of government machinery in elections and canceled the election by also barring the former prime minister from contesting elections for six years. The High Court’s decision meant Indira Gandhi would have to leave the post of Prime Minister. An emergency meeting was called at the Prime Minister’s official residence and where Indira Gandhi sought advice from all the leaders.
With the advice of Sanjay Gandhi, Indira Gandhi appealed in the Supreme Court against the June 23 ruling of the High Court. On June 24 1975, the Supreme Court judge, Justice VR Krishna Iyer, said that he would not put a complete stay on the decision. And, the Supreme Court allowed Gandhi to remain Prime Minister, but she could not vote as an MP until the final verdict. It was after this time, several protests and demonstartions erupted all over the country. Indira Gandhi got the then President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed to sign the Emergency Declaration on midnight of June 25. Internal unrest was cited as the reason behind imposing the Emergency.
Consequences of Emergency
Written by Ayushman Ojha, a Journalism student at Delhi School of Journalism, Delhi University. Covers Politics, Education and International Affairs.
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