Mumbai: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today targeted the Congress and the Gandhi family over imposition of the Emergency 43 years ago, saying the “draconian measure” was a “sin” of that party and the Constitution was misused for one family.
Speaking at an event organised by the BJP here on the 43rd anniversary of Emergency, a combative Modi launched a no-holds-barred attack on the Congress and the Gandhi family, though he refrained from naming either Sonia or Rahul Gandhi.
Seeking to deflate the Opposition’s charge that his government was imposing an “undeclared Emergency” in the country, Modi said the “psyche” of Congress remains as it was during the Emergency.
“Isn’t their (Congress) approach towards institutions a reflection of the psyche of Emergency? Can the country’s democracy and Constitution remain safe under their watch,” he said.
“When a notice was served to the ‘family’, such was the arrogance, such was the ego, that even the Chief Justice of India was not spared. There was an impeachment motion against him in Parliament,” Modi said, referring to Congress’ effort to bring an impeachment motion against CJI Dipak Misra.
The Constitution was misused “for one family” while imposing the Emergency, Modi said.
The entire country was turned into a jail for selfish personal interest of that family,” he added.
“When (iconic Bollywood singer) Kishore Kumar ji refused to sing for them (Congress) during Emergency, his songs were not allowed to be played on the radio,” he said.
“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,” Modi said, adding his government was committed to safeguarding the Constitution and protecting democracy.
Emergency was a black spot on democracy, he said.
Modi lashed out at the Congress for “spreading canards” about fear and intolerance in the country.
“When we used to work during Jan Sangh’s time, these people (Congress) would be busy spreading fear among Muslims, saying people of the RSS and the Jan Sangh will kill Muslims. Now they are saying Dalits are in danger,” he said.
“We are a big nation with a large population, and such fear psychosis does have an impact on people,” he said.
People would never have imagined that “in the lust for power and the mad devotion to a family”, those who talk big things about democracy and Constitution had turned the country into a jail, Modi said.
“An atmosphere of fear prevailed then. We will rarely find another example of how the Constitution was misused as a tool for a family,” he said.
Earlier, addressing the third annual meeting of the multilateral lender Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank at the iconic NCPA hall in south Mumbai, Modi said the nation’s macro fundamentals are strong and asserted that his government is firmly committed to the path of fiscal consolidation.
The USD 2.6-trillion domestic economy, which may see 7.4 per cent GDP growth this fiscal year, has emerged as a “bright spot” in the global economy driving growth, he said.
“Despite rising oil prices, inflation is within the mandated range. The government is firmly committed to the path of fiscal consolidation,” Modi said.
“India’s economic resurgence closely mirrors that of many other parts of Asia and has become the main growth engine of the world now,” he said.
“A ‘New India’ is rising. It is an India that stands on the pillars of economic opportunity for all, based on a knowledge economy, holistic development, is futuristic and resilient,” Modi said.
With a USD 2.6 trillion GDP, India is the seventh largest economy in the world and the third largest in terms of purchasing power parity, he said.
Modi, who landed here this morning, wound up his trip after apprising the industry captains of the works being done by his administration at a meeting with them in south Mumbai.