New Delhi: Slamming the Congress party for imposition of Emergency in 1975, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday likened then prime minister, the late Indira Gandhi to German dictator Adolf Hitler and said both imposed Emergency in their respective countries claiming that their actions were “constitutional”.
“Both Hitler and Mrs Gandhi never abrogated the Constitution. They used a republican Constitution to transform democracy into dictatorship. Hitler arrested most of the opposition Members of Parliament and converted his minority government in Parliament into a two-third majority government. Mrs Indira Gandhi arrested most opposition Members of Parliament and, therefore, procured, through their absence, a two-third majority of members present and voting and enabling the passage of several obnoxious provisions through Constitution amendments,” Jaitley said in a series of tweets.
Gandhi imposed Emergency on June 25, 1975 on account of international disturbances. She suspended key fundamental rights of the citizens guaranteed under the Constitution.
Veteran Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Jaitley said while Hitler had announced a 25-point economic programme, Gandhi came up with 20.
“To cover up the gap of five, Gandhi’s son Sanjay Gandhi announced his five-point economic and social programme. Dissent became a sin and sycophancy the rule. Film actors and singers and playback singers were asked to join Youth Congress and its allies. If they refused, the then Information and Broadcasting Minister Vidya Charan Shukla would threaten them. Kishore Kumar, the noted playback singer, was blacklisted by All India Radio and his songs were never played on All India Radio for refusing to sing at Youth Congress rallies,” he said.
The union minister said the script of Emergency was well thought out in advance.
“Was this script inspired by what happened in Nazi Germany in 1933,” he questioned adding that unlike Hitler, Gandhi went ahead to transform India into a dynastic democracy.
He said that during Emergency, an atmosphere of fear prevailed in the country and political activity had come to a grinding halt.
“Vesting absolute power, the government unleashed tyranny on every institution. The country witnessed the silence of graveyard. The High Court stood firm but the Supreme Court capitulated. Fourteen independent judges of the High Court were transferred to another High Courts,” he claimed.
Jaitley stated that Gandhi imposed ‘phoney’ emergency, turning democracy into constitutional dictatorship.
“It was a phoney emergency on account of proclaimed policy that Indira Gandhi was indispensable to India and all contrarian voices had to be crushed. The constitutional provisions were used to turn democracy into a constitutional dictatorship,” he said.
Jaitley stated that Gandhi succeeded in “completely terrorising” top editors and journalists.
“The Press was completely terrorised. Most editors and journalists surrendered and reconciled with the idea of living in dictatorship. Congress Party newspaper ‘National Herald’ editorially commented that time had come for India to evolve into a single party democracy. Mrs Gandhi herself called for the graduation of India from democracy to a ‘disciplined democracy’,” he said.
Jaitley was lodged in Tihar Jail for organising a protest meeting on June 26, 1975 against emergency.
“I led a protest of Delhi University students where we burnt effigy of the Emergency and I delivered a speech against what was happening. The police had arrived in large number. I got arrested only to be served a detention order under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act. I was taken to Delhi’s Tihar Jail for the purpose of detention,” he recalled.
Jaitley gave credit to Shiromani Akali Dal for offering its cadres for protest every day throughout the Emergency outside the Golden Temple.
“The cadre of Shiromani Akali Dal courted arrest everyday. This earned Akali Dal a great respect in the entire country. Important to note that all Indian Ambassadors and High Commissioners were asked to propagate that what was happening in India now was nothing short of a revolution. You had effectively a one party system in play,” he said.