At a time when his Bharatiya Janata Party is in power at the Centre, veteran leader LK Advani has sought to ruffle feathers by saying that an Emergency-like situation in future could not be ruled out.
“At the present point of time, the forces that can crush democracy, notwithstanding the constitutional and legal safeguards, are stronger,” Advani said, in remarks that are bound to create controversy as his tumultuous relationship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi is no secret.
The senior BJP leader made the remarks in an interview with The Indian Express, just days ahead of the 40th anniversary of the imposition of the Emergency on June 25, 1975.
Advani said the country’s political system has still not come to terms with the Emergency of 1975.
Since the imposition of Emergency during 1975-77, “I don’t think anything has been done that gives me the assurance that civil liberties will not be suspended or destroyed again. Not at all,” Advani told the English daily.
“Of course, no 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,” he added.
Stating why the same situation could arise again, he said: “I do not see any sign in our polity that assures me, any outstanding aspect of leadership. A commitment to democracy and to all other aspects related to democracy is lacking.”
Advani said he was not implying that the Indian political leadership was immature. However, he added that because of its inherent weaknesses he is not able to have faith in the political system.
“I don’t have the confidence that it (Emergency) cannot happen again,” he stated.
Noting that the Emergency was imposed in 1975 by the then prime minister Indira Gandhi despite having constitutional safeguards in place, the veteran leader stressed that “there aren’t enough safeguards in India in 2015”.
But he did add that the Emergency of 1975 could save India from recurrence of such a situation. “The aftermath of the Emergency having been an election in which the party that imposed the Emergency lost very badly, would always be a deterrent for future rulers who think of repeating what was done in the 1970s.”