Finance Minister and Minister of Corporate Affairs Arun Jaitley is a brilliant man, an articulate speaker, and a great individual. He played an important role in taking Bharatiya Janata Party to new heights and has taken the economy’s GDP growth to a level unmatched by any other government rule. Quite recently, Arun Jaitley was undergoing a prolonged treatment for his kidney ailments at AIIMS, New Delhi. But then he came back with a bang and demolished Rahul Gandhi for his speech at the Mandsaur rally. With the passage of time Mr. Jaitley has been getting fiercer. Recently, Mr. Jaitley criticised Congress’s most controversial leader till date, Indira Gandhi. In a three part series article, Arun Jaitley has decided to divulge a lot about the darkest period in the Indian democracy, a.k.a Emergency which was imposed by Indira Gandhi on June 26th 1975. Apart from sharing his contribution and his sufferings during the years of the Emergency he has shared a lot about the conditions prevailing in the days preceding the imposition of the Emergency. He also compares the modus operandi of Indira Gandhi and Congress in imposing Emergency using the framework of the democracy to that of Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler’s plan to take control of Germany. PM Modi has endorsed these articles penned by Mr. Jaitley and has asked Indian citizens to have a look at them.
The first part of the article titled “The Circumstances Leading to the Imposition of Emergency” talks about the state of affairs prevailing in the country prior to 1975. The economic condition of the country was terrible, wars with Pakistan definitely had a role to play in this but the major blame for it went to the wrong economic policies implemented by Indira Gandhi led Congress regime. For all the hype built around Indira Gandhi’s slogan of “garibi hatao” her policies led to the exact opposite as development and urbanization at a rapid pace could not be carried out owing to Urban Land Ceiling Law and MRTP Act. In Jaitley’s own words, “She botched up the nationalization of wheat trade (subsequently reversed) to tackle the unmanageable inflation. It led to greater inflation. This led to social and trade union unrest where large number of man-days were lost”. Inflation in 1974 had climbed up to 20.2 percent and reached 25.2 percent in 1975, quite shocking indeed considering Indira Gandhi and her contribution to the economic growth in India is widely advertised by the Congress party leaders even today. Indira was failing and it was her failures at economic, social and political levels which had led her to use illegal means to ensure her win in the 1971 elections against “socialist leader Raj Narain”. Jay Prakash Narayan’s movement which Jaitley had joined as a student is also described in detail, the resentment which had been showcased by J.P. Narayan was echoed throughout the country. Opposition and even student leaders were thrown in jail in mass number and were detained for an indefinite period.
Comparing Indira Gandhi to Hitler Arun Jaitley says, “Both Hitler and Mrs Gandhi never abrogated the Constitution. They used a republican Constitution to transform democracy into dictatorship”, he also compares Hitler asking for emergency powers for the “protection of the people of the state” to Indira Gandhi’s goal of making India a dynastical democracy. He writes, “Hitler continued to maintain that his actions were within the four corners of the Constitution. Mrs Gandhi imposed Emergency under Article 352, suspended fundamental rights under Article 359 and claimed that disorder was planned by the opposition in the country. The security forces were being asked to disobey illegal orders and, therefore, in the larger interest of the nation, India had to become a disciplined democracy”.
This is the first time that a BJP leader has decided to up the ante and directly confront the Congress. PM Modi who usually maintains a soft and unbiased stance on the opposition has for the first time openly endorsed this article. A stamp of authority by PM Modi on Arun Jaitley’s critique of the Emergency and Indira Gandhi makes it even more worthwhile.