From a purely historical point of view the month of June is very important. For us in the BJP there are several dates which are unforgettable.
I am writing this blog on June 25. It was on this date in 1975 that Prime Minister Smt. Indira Gandhi made President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed sign a Proclamation under Art. 352 of the Constitution declaring an internal Emergency. The Prime Minister had not consulted the Cabinet. The Home Minister and the Law Minister also were unaware of this move.
June 12 of the same year 1975 was the date on which the Allahabad High Court struck down the election of Smt. Indira Gandhi to the Lok Sabha and disqualified her from being a member of Parliament for six years on grounds of electoral corruption.
The Proclamation of Emergency which the Rashtrapati was made to sign was intended to arm the Government with powers which could enable her to undo the consequences of the High Court verdict.
The Proclamation of Emergency was presented to the Cabinet on June 26 at 6.00 A.M.
Two hours later at 8.00 A.M. the Prime Minister herself informed the people on radio that an Emergency had been imposed on the country.
After the signing of the Proclamation the previous night, Fundamental Rights had been suspended, strict censorship had been imposed on the media, and a massive operation under Maintenance of the Internal Security Act of arrests and detentions had been launched. All over the country, thousands of eminent leaders, members of Parliament, Members of State Legislatures, Journalists and other activists opposed to the Emergency and demanding that Smt. Gandhi resign because of the High Court verdict were put behind bars.
Among those arrested that night, or the following day, were Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narain, Morarji Bhai Desai, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Chandra Shekhar.
The country these days is agitated over the issues of corruption, of numerous scams involving the Central Government, and black money stashed in overseas banks. But we in the BJP can never forget that we commenced our political yatra in 1951 under the leadership of Dr. Shyama Prasad Mookerji, and the first national movement that we launched as Jana Sangh was for the complete integration of J&K State with the Indian Union. Dr. Mookerji led the movement from the front, defied the permit system, and was detained by the State Government. On June 23, 1953 he died in mysterious circumstances, a martyr for the cause of Jammu-Kashmir’s Integration.
Two days back, on June 23rd fell Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerji’s 58th Martyrdom Day. The Delhi unit of the BJP organized a Syama Prasad Balidan Divas at the Talkatora Indoor Stadium that day. Not only was the huge stadium completely jampacked, but many more thousands had assembled in the lawns outside, where several screens and loud speakers had been put up to enable them to listen to the speeches inside.
In 1952, the first General Elections were held. The Bharatiya Jana Sangh’s first National Convention was held early in 1953 at Kanpur. I remember how inspired all of us who participated in that convention felt when Dr. Mookerji gave the conclave the resounding slogan : Ek desh men do vidhan, do pradhan, do nishan, nahin challenge!
On June 19 last week I saw a news item from Bhopal quoting the Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh telling the PTI “I think it is time that Rahul can become the Prime Minister.
By this one statement the Congress Party leader now finds that he has tied himself up into knots.
The Economic Times (June 20) used the same PTI report to give its story the heading: Rahul turns 41, should take charge of govt: Digvijay Singh. The report below read:
NEW DELHI: The unease in the Congress over the government leadership’s failure to dig the regime out of a deepening hole manifested on Sunday when party general secretary Digvijay Singh said it was time for Rahul Gandhi to take charge of the government. Singh, however, left it to the scion of the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty to decide on taking up the mantle of prime ministership.
“It is for Rahul Gandhi to take a call on the matter. He is now a mature person with sound political instincts and can become the Prime Minister. I think it is time that Rahul becomes the prime minister,” Singh said. The Congress general secretary also said Rahul Gandhi has put in enough years in active politics. “Rahul is now 41 and he has been working for the party for the last seven to eight years,” Singh said.
The obvious implication of the statement was that the present incumbent of this high office must yield place to the scion of the Nehru family.
I wonder if in any other democracy the General Secretary of the ruling party would dare make a public statement of this kind. In a Communist country, the First Secretary of the Communist Party may have the authority to say so, but he too may consider it indiscreet.
Indeed, every one knows that like Dr. Manmohan Singh, Shri Chandra Shekhar, Shri Deve Gowda, Shri I.K. Gujral were all nominees of the Congress Party. But when they were Prime Ministers, would any Congress General Secretary have dared make a similar statement? And if any such statement had been made, would they have continued in office?
I have just seen the script of Digvijay Singh’s latest interview to NDTV on June 24 in which he has clumsily tried to retract his earlier irresponsible statement first by praising Manmohan Singh (he’s a fairly good PM) and then by affirming glibly “I will be happy to see Rahul as a PM in my lifetime.”
25 June, 2011