Calling the Emergency a black spot in the history of independent India, PM Modi launched a sharp attack on the Congress party. He was addressing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) workers in Mumbai to commemorate the ‘Black Day’ of Indian democracy, when the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi, imposed emergency on the midnight of 25 June 1975. During the time of emergency, fundamental rights of citizens were suspended, each and every voice of dissent and protest were brutally suppressed, and all the constitutional bodies were forced to surrender before the government’s diktat. Journalists were told to bend but they crawled and those who defied the diktat were imprisoned. Electricity supply to newspaper publishing houses was also cut off. The opposition leaders were thrown behind bars and then tortured. Houses of people were demolished and forced sterilization campaign was carried out on the orders of Sanjay Gandhi. Those days were one of the saddest times of Indian history, a brutal display of power and arrogance. PM Modi called imposition of emergency a ‘dark period’ and reminded Congress of its past sins.
PM Modi said, “Black Day organized to mark 43rd anniversary of Emergency not just to criticize Congress for the sin of attacking Constitution but to create awareness about its perils.” He lambasted Indira Gandhi government and the Congress party saying, “The country never thought that just for lust for power and servility to one family, India would be made into one big jail. Every person lived in fear. Constitution was misused.”
PM Modi in his speech vehemently attacked the mindset of the Congress as how a single family subverted the entire democracy. He also drew parallels between the then mindset and the current mindset of the Congress, and showed that there has been no change in the mindset of the Congress since 1975. He criticized the Congress for initiating the impeachment against the honest and hardworking Chief Justice of India- Dipak Misra. He said, “They never imagined that corruption charge could be framed against them in court and they would have to seek bail. So now they are trying to scare the judiciary by bringing impeachment motion. Their mentality now is the same as it was during Emergency.” Judiciary was terrorized during the emergency and the Congress is trying to do the same thing at present as well. He further added, “For selfish interests, Congress turned the country into a jail by imprisoning opposition leaders. For them, the country and democracy have no value. Instead of (Indira Gandhi) quitting as PM after the court verdict, Emergency was imposed. How can these people talk about safeguarding the Constitution?” He took jibe at the current lack of internal democracy in the Congress party. He said, “The party which has no internal democracy cannot be expected to follow the ideals of a democracy.” He is right in his criticism. The way Congress held EVM responsible for its electoral defeat is really deplorable. PM Modi targeted the Congress on their hypocrisy over EVMs. He said the Congress party started questioning EVMs after being reduced to 44 from 400. PM Modi said, “They did not question the EVMs after the recent Karnataka elections.”
PM Modi, in his speech, also attacked ‘Emergency cheerleaders’. He exposed the Congress party completely and tore down months of ‘democracy in danger under Modi’ narrative in one go. He targeted the fear mongers who try to create illusionary fear of how the democracy, constitution, minorities and Dalits are in danger under the BJP government. PM Modi made it very clear that for his party, the Constitution is not just a mere a book, but an important sacrosanct asset, a means to fulfill aspirations and wishes of the Common Man. All these manufactured fears are modus operandi of the Congress party to grab the power again. PM Modi understands this very well and chastised the Congress on this as well. He said, “Whenever the Congress is out of power they promote a narrative that the country is trouble, in grave trouble and that only they can save the country. It is only to grab power.”
Whenever the Congress is out of power they promote a narrative that the country is trouble, in grave trouble and that only they can save the country. It is only to grab power. : PM Modi on a speech about Emergency 1975-77 pic.twitter.com/lCTWR2CCiz
— Smita Prakash (@smitaprakash) June 26, 2018
He cited an example of extreme intolerance, censorship and annihilation of artistic freedom under the Congress rule. He said, “When Kishore Kumar ji refused to sing for them (Congress), his songs were not allowed to be played on the radio.” This example is enough to imagine the life under Congress rule, not just people but even ideas and artistic freedom were caged. PM Modi said that India’s youth would never understand what it was about to live without freedom. He said, “Youth today do not have an idea of what happened during Emergency. They will not know that how living without freedom can be.” He paid tribute to legendary Ramnath Goenka and Kuldip Nayar for standing up against the oppressive regime under the Emergency despite the criticism Kuldip Nayar levels against BJP and PM Modi regularly.