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Ramesh said it was the ‘Nehruvian influence’ that finally goaded Indira Gandhi to order elections and respect the people’s verdict. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint
Ramesh said it was the ‘Nehruvian influence’ that finally goaded Indira Gandhi to order elections and respect the people’s verdict. Photo: Ramesh Pathania/Mint

Emergency gave democratic credentials to RSS, Modi: Jairam Ramesh

Congress leader Jairam Ramesh termed imposition of the Emergency as a 'wrong' move by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi

Hyderabad: Emergency “disastrously" gave “democratic credentials" to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) by bringing it into the mainstream of Indian politics, senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh has said, terming its imposition as a “wrong" move by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Ramesh said his personal view is that Emergency brought disrepute to the Congress for having “killed" Parliamentary democracy and gave democratic credentials to people like Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union minister Arun Jaitley “who are not natural democrats".

“What Emergency did disastrously for Indian politics was to bring the RSS into the mainstream of Indian politics. And the Emergency gave democratic credentials to people like Modi and Jaitley who are not natural democrats," the former Union minister told PTI. “The most intolerant of people—namely the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)—acquired democratic credentials because of the Emergency," he said. Ramesh said it was the “Nehruvian influence" that finally goaded Indira Gandhi to order elections and respect the people’s verdict. “Ultimately, verdict on Emergency was given by Mrs Gandhi herself by calling for elections in early 1977 and she respected the verdict of the people. So, ultimately, I think Nehru’s daughter prevailed; ultimately the Nehruvian influence on Mrs Gandhi prevailed and she realised that she had to call for elections," Ramesh said.

The Congress Rajya Sabha member said Emergency was “wrong because a party that built Parliamentary democracy in India acquired a reputation for having killed democracy for that period of Emergency". “The same Mrs Gandhi who was defeated by the people came back in January 1980. That’s what democracy is all about," Ramesh said.

The RSS, he said, is not a believer in Parliamentary democracy. “So, unfortunately whatever the historical circumstances were for the Emergency, it led to people getting democratic credentials," he said. Ahead of the Bihar assembly elections, the BJP had observed 40 years of Emergency on 24 June, highlighting the excesses committed by the Indira Gandhi government and announcing a national memorial to Jayaprakash Narayan (JP), the leader of the mass movement against it that saw installation of the first non-Congress government at the centre, at his village in the state. The party also celebrated the 113th birth anniversary of JP on 11 October as “Save Democracy Day".

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