NEW DELHI: The situation in West Bengal is akin to a "state of emergency" under Mamata Banerjee's rule, Union minister Prakash Javadekar said Tuesday, asserting that the BJP believes in democracy and is committed to protect it.
Earlier in the day, the West Bengal chief minister hit out at the saffron party, saying while Tuesday was the anniversary of the Emergency imposed in 1975, the country has been going through a "super emergency" for the past five years.
The emergency was imposed by the then prime minister Indira Gandhi on this day in 1975 and it was in effect till March 21, 1977.
Speaking to reporters outside Parliament, Javadekar said, "The way Mamata is conducting things in West Bengal, is no less than the state of Emergency. She is doing a very bad job at running the state".
The Union minister of environment and information and broadcasting said his party and the government are committed to safeguard democracy and will fight for West Bengal, the way his party workers did in 1975.
"The way violence is being promoted is against democracy. The BJP and this government is committed to safeguard democracy and believes in ' sabka saath sabka vikaas'. We saved the country from Emergency in 1975 and now, we will fight in West Bengal too," he said.
The BJP won 18 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in Bengal in the recently-concluded parliamentary polls, only four less than the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress's 22.
Election to the 294-member state assembly is scheduled to be held in 2021.
In a tweet, Banerjee said, "Today is the anniversary of the #Emergency declared in 1975. For the last five years, the country went through a ''Super Emergency''. " "We must learn our lessons from history and fight to safeguard the democratic institutions in the country," she tweeted.
Expressing shock over "some politicians" terming the present scenario as emergency, Javadekar said those who are making such comments were once in the Congress.
"I am shocked that today some politicians are calling the present an emergency. Today there is freedom of press, social media, cable TV revolution is there. Today there is freedom of speech, which was snatched earlier by the Congress. Today the politicians who are calling it an emergency, were in Congress that time. That is why, the story of emergency should be narrated to all generations so that the freedom is not lost again," he said.
The Constitution was totally thwarted by the imposition of Emergency in 1975, Javadekar said, adding "it took away the freedom of press, personal opinions and the entire country was turned into a jail".
"Not just that but even Lok Sabha elections, which cannot be rescheduled, were postponed that time," he said.
Remembering BJP stalwarts, including Atal Bihari Vajpayee, for their role in fighting the Emergency, Javadekar said, "Several party workers fought against it under the leadership of Morarji Desai. That time the common man raised his voice against it and it was called off".
"I congratulate all today and pay respect to those who gave their life and my sympathies for those who suffered but this fight was of people," the Union minister said.