He was referring to institutions rather than to individuals, says BJP spokesperson
GN Bureau | June 18, 2015
It is hard to believe that in the age of social media activism in India there is a possibility of emergency-like situation in the country. But BJP leader LK Advani did allude to such a scenario and his Emergency comment has given fresh ammunition to prime minister Narendra Modi’s detractors.
Leading the pack is Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal. "Advani ji is correct in saying that emergency can't be ruled out. Is Delhi their first experiment?" Kejriwal tweeted.
Congress spokesperson Tom Vadakkan was more direct and said the "jury is out" from the ruling party and the senior leader was indeed hinting at "emergency-like" situation under Modi's rule.
"It is obvious who he is talking about, whose government is there, who is the Prime Minister. He knows it. But he is a statesman-like leader of the BJP. He did not want to name the Prime Minister. But whoever reads the interview, he/she would understand he is talking about Modi," Vadakkan said.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said "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." He said that Bihar was facing emergency-like situation everyday. He added that the PM's silence on 'Lalitgate' implied admission of guilt.
With political circles reading between the lines spokesperson of the BJP MJ Akbar said: "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."
Commenting on Advani's remarks, RSS ideologue M G Vaidya said Advani is a member of the BJP's Magadarshak Mandal and he did not think he was sending a message to Modi.
"I don't feel anything like that. He (Advani) is quite senior in age and experience. So he can talk to Modi. He is in the 'Margdarshak Mandal' of BJP. I don't think he has an intention of sending a message to Modi through this interview."
What Advani said
The 'Emergency' refers to a 21-month period in 1975-77 when President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed, upon advice by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, declared a state of emergency, effectively bestowing on her the power to rule by decree, suspending elections and civil liberties.
The political system in the country was still to come to terms with the Emergency and a similar suspension of civil liberties could happen again, Advani told The Indian Express. "At the present point of time, the forces that can crush democracy, notwithstanding the constitutional and legal safeguards, are stronger."
"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."
"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," said the former deputy prime minister, who is now a member of the BJP's Margadarshak Mandal, and was incarcerated during the Emergency.
Advani also said that he did not see any sign in the polity that assures him any outstanding aspect of leadership with a commitment to democracy and to all other aspects related to democracy is lacking.
"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."
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