43 years since Emergency: BJP to observe 'black day' to mark 'darkest period of Independent India'

To mark the 43rd anniversary of the Emergency imposed by former prime minister Indira Gandhi in 1975, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will observe a "black day" on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address an event in Mumbai to express gratitude towards those who fought against the Emergency in 1975 and propagate the vitality of conserving the democratic values. Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and state BJP chief Raosaheb Danve too will attend the event.

Modi has been a bitter critic of the former prime minister's move to impose Emergency. In his monthly radio programme 'Mann Ki Baat' in 2017, Modi had referred to the Emergency, saying "such a black night cannot be forgotten". He said it was essential to remember the incidents which caused harm to democracy and learn from them.

Senior party leaders and union ministers will also hold press conferences and address seminars and hall meeting programmes across the country on Tuesday to mark the 'black day'. Prakash Javadekar, Smriti Irani, JP Nadda, Dharmendra Pradhan and Dr Mahesh Sharma will also hold press briefings.

While Nirmala Sitharaman will hold a press meet in Pune, Smriti Irani will brief the media in Odisha. In Madhya Pradesh Ananth Kumar will hold a press conference whereas in Rajasthan it will be on Prakash Javadekar to talk to the mediapersons about the "dark period" and its repercussions. MoS K Alphons will talk in Tamil Nadu and BJP national spokesperson Sambit Patra will speak in Hyderabad. General (Retd.)VK Singh will also hold a press meet in Andhra Pradesh  and Jitendra Singh addresses the media in Assam to mark the "black day".

According to The Indian Express, BJP national spokesperson Anil Baluni said that press conferences and seminars will be organised at around 22 places across the country to make the youth aware about how the Congress had murdered democracy by imposing Emergency. Baluni said that such mass awareness was needed so that no one could dare impose Emergency in the future. He said that the idea is to highlight how Emergency was the darkest period of independent India.

On Monday, BJP chief Amit Shah attacked the Congress party for imposing the Emergency. In a series of tweets Shah said that on this day, "democracy was murdered by the Congress party merely to maintain power". In his tweet, Shah also paid tribute to those who fought against the Emergency and said countless number of people were put behind bars as they suffered atrocities for over 21 months.

Earlier on Monday, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley in the second part of his three part-series titled 'The Emergency Revisited' recalled the 'tyranny' faced by the people faced during the emergency period. Drawing parallels between Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler and former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, the Jaitley said that both had turned democracy into dictatorship. But, Jaitley wrote that unlike Hitler, Gandhi went a step ahead by endeavouring to transform India into a "dynastic democracy".

On Tuesday, the Jammu and Kashmir unit of BJP observed 'Save Democracy Day' to mark the "darkest period in the history of the country". BJP national general secretary Anil Jain addressed a programme at the party office in Jammu. Former deputy chief minister Kavinder Gupta also presided over a meeting to recall and denounce the dark days of emergency.

Meanwhile, Union Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi also wrote in a blog that the Emergency was the "biggest blot" on the Indian democracy and said that a chapter on it should be included in the textbooks to educate the younger generation about the "atrocities" committed during that period.

In a blog titled 'The 1975 Emergency - A dirty deceit against democracy', posted on his Facebook page, Naqvi said people of the country fought for democratic values, constitutional rights and succeeded in protecting democracy and the Constitution by removing the Congress party from power.

The Emergency was a 21-month period between 25 June, 1975 and 21 March, 1977, officially issued by the then president Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed under Article 352 of the Constitution due to "internal disturbances" which in turn, gave the then prime minister the authority to rule by decree with civil liberties being curbed.

Gandhi imposed Emergency after the Supreme Court found her election to the Lok Sabha 'null and void'. Following the apex court's announcement, protests erupted in the country. The government then stated threat to national security and declared Emergency.

During this period, several citizens and politicians including opposition leaders like Vijayaraje Scindia, Jaiprakash Narayan, Morarji Desai, Chaudhary Charan Singh, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Lal Krishna Advani were arrested without any trial as fundamental rights had been suspended and media was also censured.

Fresh elections were called after the Emergency ended in 1977 and Congress lost by a huge margin, resulting in the Janata Party's Morarji Desai becoming the first non-Congress prime minister.

Updated Date: Jun 26, 2018 11:33:55 IST