Nadda slams opposition for fielding K Suresh for LS speaker’s post, reminds Congress of Emergency


PTI, Jun 25, 2024, 6:26 PM IST

Source: PTI / File

New Delhi: BJP president JP Nadda reminded the Congress on Tuesday of the “dark days of Emergency” as he slammed the opposition for fielding K Suresh against the NDA’s Om Birla in the election for Lok Sabha speaker.

Addressing an event at the BJP headquarters in New Delhi on the 49th anniversary of the Emergency, imposed by the Indira Gandhi government in 1975, Nadda accused the Congress of “hypocrisy and doublespeak” on the issue of the Lok Sabha speaker’s election and said there is no space for democracy in the “mindset” of the main opposition party.

Nadda asked if there had been any election for the Lok Sabha speaker where the opposition put a condition that the deputy speaker be decided first before reaching a consensus on the chair’s position.

Congress MP Suresh is the opposition’s candidate for the Lok Sabha chair against Birla of the ruling National Democratic Alliance (NDA), which has a majority in the Lower House.

Nadda said the Congress, which was vying for the deputy speaker’s post in the name of tradition, itself did not follow the norm in states governed by it.

The Congress has its speaker and deputy speaker in the assemblies of Telangana and Karnataka while INDIA bloc constituents the Trinamool Congress (TMC), DMK and the Left have their own speakers and deputy speakers in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala assemblies, respectively, he said.

Nadda said it was the Congress government under the then-prime minister Indira Gandhi that had “throttled” democracy by imposing the Emergency on June 25, 1975, and carried out immense atrocities on those who protested.

“Those who insulted and ignored the Constitution several times have declared themselves as protectors of the Constitution,” he charged.
Nadda recalled the days of the Emergency and said the country’s democracy is standing firm today due to the sacrifices that people made to protect it at that time.

“About 9,000 people were picked up at night and put in jail. Not a single prominent leader was spared. There is a long list of leaders, including Morarji Desai, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and LK Advani, who were in jail for more than 19 months. Their only fault was that they raised their voices to strengthen democracy. Every effort was made to gag the media,” he said.

Those with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) also joined the struggle, which began in 1974, to save democracy as well as end poverty, corruption and nepotism, he said.

“About 1.40 lakh people were arrested under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) and the Defence of India Rules (DIR). Of them, 75,000 to 80,000 people were those who followed our ideology,” he said.

Nadda said democracy was “restored” in 1977 when a “dictatorial government” of the Congress was unseated from power in the Lok Sabha elections.

“Rahul Gandhi does not know how democracy was throttled during those days. He doesn’t know much about the (country’s) history as he has inadequately studied the subject. Perhaps he doesn’t even have much interest in studying. I don’t know how many degrees he has got,” the BJP chief said, taking potshots at the Congress leader.

“These days, these leaders roam around carrying copies of the Constitution. They should apologise to the country and also Mahatma Gandhi (imposition of Emergency) by visiting his memorial at Raj Ghat,” he added.

On June 25, 1975, Indira Gandhi made the announcement of the imposition of Emergency in a broadcast on All India Radio, shortly after the Supreme Court granted a conditional stay to a Allahabad High Court verdict declaring her election to the Lok Sabha as null and void.

The 21 months was known for forced mass sterlisations, censorship of the press, suspension of constitutional rights and centralisation of power.

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