MUMBAI/JAIPUR: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday lashed out at the Congress, saying it retains a dictatorial mindset from the Emergency era and is scaring institutions like the judiciary and Election Commission as it cannot digest the fact that it is out of power.
Speaking at a BJP event to mark the 43rd anniversary of Emergency declared on June 26, 1975, Modi said India was “turned into a jail for the selfish personal interests” of one family.
“Instead of (Indira Gandhi) quitting as Prime Minister after the court verdict declaring her election as null and void, Emergency was imposed. How can these people talk about safeguarding the Constitution?”
He further termed Emergency a black spot on the nation’s golden history, and said his government was committed to upholding the Constitution’s democratic values. In Jaipur, Union Human Resource Development minister Prakash Javadekar said the government would include a special chapter on Emergency in school textbooks.
“We want students to know the correct history, and hence, are working to change the curriculum in schools,” he said.
Lashing out at Congress for "spreading illusionary fear" about the Constitution, Dalits and minorities facing danger (in the BJP-led regime), Modi said Congress can never improve.
"For the promotion of self-interest, they destroyed their own party," he said.
"For selfish interests, Congress turned the country into a jail by imprisoning opposition leaders. For them, the country and democracy have no value. Instead of (Indira Gandhi) quitting as PM after the court verdict, Emergency was imposed. How can these people talk about safeguarding the Constitution," he said.
"When Kishore Kumar ji refused to sing for them (Congress), his songs were not allowed to be played on the radio," Modi said.
Modi accused the Congress of criticising EVMs and the functioning of the Election Commission after they were reduced to 44 seats from 400 in Lok Sabha.
"They did not question the EVMs after the recent Karnataka elections," he added. He also criticised the Congress for moving an impeachment motion against the Supreme Court chief justice.
"They (Gandhi family) never imagined that they can face corruption charges and be out on bail. Hence, the Congress decided to move impeachment motion against the chief justice," Modi said.
Modi said his Government was committed to protecting Constitution and upholding democratic values.
"The Constitution is not just a book but a means to fulfil aspirations and wishes of the common man," he said.
Modi also paid tributes to Ramnath Goenka of the Indian Express, Kuldeep Nayar and the Statesman newspaper for "standing up" against Emergency.
"Many of them were not our supporters either. Nayar is critical of us. But they fought for democracy," Modi said.
The Congress was quick to shoot back, with party spokesperson Randeep Surjewala saying Modi “is more cruel ” than Mughal emperor Aurangzeb, and has “enslaved democracy” during his 49 months in power.
(With PTI inputs)