The credit for the first Emergency in free India goes to Indira Gandhi, a feat that can not be taken away from her. The Emergency lasted for 21 months beginning from 25 June 1975. The fear in her mind was that her autocratic Government was likely to be overthrown, while the reasons cited to justify the move were ‘threat to national security’ and ‘poor economic conditions’ prevailing in the country. If one were to see things in hindsight, there is an uncanny similarity between then and now; the unbeaten- losing streak of Congress president has sown seeds of distrust in even the most loyal supporters of the dynasty which senses fear in the heart of Rahul Gandhi. And, as many have said, the coffers of Congress are drying up rapidly.
A phobia grips the Congress party leadership today, a fear that it is costing the support of its own MLAs. This marks the second of such events by the Congress party of herding it’s elected MLAs into isolation. This is the modern definition of Emergency, an Emergency within a National political party, driven by the fear that stems from that fact that it’s own MLAs are not trusted by the leadership. It must be quite demoralising to the ground workers, who have worked hard believing in their leaders to bring about a change in present conditions, when they are themselves not in control of their own destinies. Their elected leaders have their freedom snatched away on the whim of the Central Congress leaders, which must be quite emasculating.
During Emergency, Indira Gandhi was responsible for the arrest of all those who were opposing her; one is forced to wonder that with the resort arrest of the MLAs, does Rahul Gandhi fear that there is a massive opposition brewing within his party?
The media henchmen are quite understandably tight lipped with mere mentions that they are kept in a resort. None of them who are otherwise quite eloquent with their opinions have questioned the nature of the confinement the MLAs are going through. These henchmen sold the narrative that the BJP offered Rs.100 Crore for a Congress MLA, which fell flat when the Congress MLA in question discredited it openly.
The final reflection of such actions in the mind of a common man is this: A party which is made by the MLAs does not trust them and believes that they are liable to fall prey to corruption and sell their soul to the opposition; is this not a reflection of the character of these leaders? Congress has not only undermined the position of these leaders but also smeared them in the eyes of the public.
Also, how is keeping them confined away from their families and friends helping the Congress. This is a blot on the concept of individual freedom. This also reflects that when the party can keep its own Congress MLA under resort arrest, not only do they have complete and utter disregard for their personal individual rights but also complete disregard for the public that these MLAs represent.
Such is the sorry state of affairs that the CM of West Bengal has called Congress-JDS alliance prevailing in Karnataka as a victory of Democracy! This is probably the new definition of democracy: a system of government by the select few, typically through coercion, quite like the Panchayat elections of West Bengal.
No matter how beautiful one makes it, a cage is still a cage.