Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said in a conversation with noted economist Professor Kaushik Basu on Tuesday that the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s decision to impose emergency was a mistake.
Rahul said that whatever happened during the 21-month emergency between 1975 and 77 was wrong.
Rahul Gandhi also said that constitutional rights and civil liberties were suspended during the Emergency, the press was banned and a large number of opposition leaders were jailed. But all these things were completely different from today’s environment.
Rahul Gandhi told Professor Basu, “I believe it was a mistake. The decision was completely wrong. And my grandmother (Indira Gandhi) also said this. But then the Congress did not try to capture the institutional structure of India. To be fair, it is not even a capability. The ideology of the Congress does not even allow us to do so.”
The leaders of the ruling BJP who were imprisoned during the Emergency, have always surrounded the Congress on this matter. Particularly when the Congress raises questions on the right to freedom of expression and disagreement on the BJP.
Rahul Gandhi said on Tuesday that there is a fundamental difference between the Emergency and what is happening today. Rahul said, “RSS is filling its people in institutions. Even if we defeated the BJP in the elections, we will not be able to be free from their people sitting in the institutional structure.”
Rahul said, “The modern democratic system is due to institutional balance. Institutions work independently. India’s largest organization, called the RSS, is attacking the freedom of institutions. This is being done in a planned manner. We will not say that democracy is being weakened, rather it is being destroyed.”
Rahul Gandhi shared a conversation with former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Kamal Nath during a conversation with Kaushik Basu. Rahul said, “When Kamal Nath was the chief minister, he told that the senior bureaucrats of his government do not obey his orders because they are all associated with the RSS.” Therefore, what is happening now is completely different from the Emergency.”
Rahul Gandhi also spoke on internal democracy within the Congress. There is a tussle over the alliance in the assembly elections held between senior Congress leader Anand Sharma and West Bengal Congress chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury. Anand Sharma is a part of G-23 and most of the leaders of this group are angry with the top leadership of the party.
Rahul Gandhi said, “I am the first person who talked about democratic elections within the party.” Interestingly, such questions do not arise in other parties. Nobody raises the issue of internal democracy in BJP, BSP and Samajwadi Party. I held elections in Youth Congress and advocated it within the party as well.”