The imposition of Emergency by the late former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was a “mistake” but the Congress party “never attempted to capture the constitutional framework” of India, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has said.
Terming the Emergency imposed by his grandmother over 21 months from 1975 to 1977 as “wrong”, Rahul Gandhi said what is happening in the country currently was “fundamentally different” from the Emergency.
“I think that (Emergency) was a mistake. Absolutely that was a mistake. And my grandmother (Indira Gandhi) said as much,” he said.
“There is a fundamental difference between what happened in the Emergency, which was wrong, and what is happening now. Congress party, at no point, attempted to capture India’s constitutional framework. Our design doesn’t allow us that. Even if we want to do it, we can’t,” said the party’s former president.
The Congress MP said this in a virtual conversation with renowned economist Prof Kaushik Basu of the Cornell University.
Hitting out at the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh, Gandhi alleged that democracy in India was being strangled by the systemic penetration of RSS in all independent institutions in the country.
“RSS is doing something fundamentally different. They are filling institutions with their people. Even if we defeat BJP in the election, we are not going to get rid of their people in the institutional structure,” the Congress leader said.
“Modern democracies function because there is institutional balance in a country. Institutions that operate independently. That independence is being attacked in India. Now there is one big institution called RSS that is penetrating all Indian institutions. There is not a single one that is not being attacked and it is being systematically done…I would not say democracy is eroding, I would say it is being strangled,” he added.
When asked about his party’s internal democracy, the former Congress chief further said that apart from Congress no other party like BJP, BSP, and Samajwadi Party are questioned over its internal elections.
“I am the first person that says democratic election within the party is absolutely critical but it is interesting to me that this question is not asked about any other political party. Nobody asked why is there no internal democracy in BJP, BSP, and Samajwadi Party,” he said.
“But they ask about Congress because there is a reason. We are an ideological party and our ideology is the ideology of the Constitution, so it is more important for us to be democratic,” Rahul Gandhi added.