The imposition of Emergency in 1975 by then late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was a mistake, said Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday, during a virtual interaction with professor Kaushik Basu at an event organised by Cornell University in US.
The Congress MP said what happened during Emergency, a period in which constitutional rights and civil liberties were suspended, the media was severely criticized and many opposition leaders were jailed was wrong and fundamentally different from the current scenario.
He went on to say that it was a mistake. Absolutely, that was a mistake and my grandmother (Indira Gandhi) said as much. But the Congress party at no point attempted to capture the country’s institutional framework, we do not have that capability, he added.
The Emergency was imposed by late Indira Gandhi for a 21-month period from 1975 to 1977.
Attacking the Bharatiya Janata Party, Gandhi said what Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is doing today is something different as they are capturing all constitutional institutions. Even if Congress defeats the BJP, the party is not going to get rid of the RSS people in the institution, he said.
On being asked about internal democracy in the party, Gandhi said, you are asking this to a person who has been pushing for elections in the party, in youth organisations for a decade. I was literally crucified for this. I have been attacked by my party people.
Further he wondered why nobody raises questions on the BJP, the Bahujan Samaj party and Samajwadi Party about lack of internal democracy. The question on internal democracy is raised for the Congress since we are an ideological party whose ideology is that of the constitution and of equality, he added.
Talking about his father Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination in 1991, Gandhi said the incident made him understand violence. It was more painful for him as a son to see Rajiv Gandhi walking towards his death, knowing that he wouldn’t come out of what he was fighting than the actual death, he added.
Rahul Gandhi, in his conversation with Prof. Basu, also spoke about BJP government and its strategies for keeping the media and judiciary in check.