Senior most leader of the ruling BJP L K Advani’s has expressed apprehensions that the democratic set up may be targeted again, just as it was with the imposition of Emergency in 1975.
“At the present point of time, the forces that can crush democracy, notwithstanding the constitutional and legal safeguards, are stronger,” LK Advani told the leading national daily Indian Express in an interview.
“I don’t think anything has been done that gives the assurance that civil liberties will not be suspended or destroyed again. Not at all,” he added.
LK Advani, who served as the Deputy Prime Minister in Vajpayee government between 1999-2004, is also among the few surviving senior politicians who were jailed during the Emergency. Late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s government had imposed the state of internal emergency between in June 1975. It was withdrawn in March 1977.
“Of course, one can do it easily…But that it cannot happen again–I will not say that. It could be that
fundamental liberties are curtailed again,” Advani, who is now a member of BJP’s Margadarshak
Mandal said while fielding the questions on conditions during the period of emergency.
“Today, I do not say that the political leadership is not mature. I don’t have faith because of its weaknesses. I don’t have the confidence that it (Emergency) cannot happen again,” he told the national daily.
LK Advani’s views has now generated debate with opposition parties targeting the ruling BJP, alongside throwing weight behind Advani’s fears. JD (U) leader KC Tyagi, who was also imprisoned with Advani during thre Emergency, said “I agree with Adavani Ji that circumstances like emergency and context are still alive and the reasons lead to emergency are not finished yet”.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar too supported Advani’s concerns. “Advani is among the senior-most leaders of BJP and his concerns should be considered seriously. As far as Emergency-like situation is concerned, we are facing it here on a daily basis,” Kumar said.
However, the ruling BJP allayed apprehensions raised by the party patriarch LK Advani.
“I think Advanji was referring to institutions rather than to individuals. I respect his views, but I personally don’t see emergency, any chance of any emergency being reimposed in the country. I think that age is over, Indian democracy is too strong, much stronger now,” BJP spokesperson MJ Akbar claimed.
(With inputs from the PTI)