Rahul Gandhi was in conversation with Professor Kaushik Basu of Cornell University, India’s former economic adviser when he commented that the Emergency of 1975 imposed by Indira Gandhi, the late Prime Minister and his Grandmother was a mistake. “That was a mistake, my grandmother (Indira Gandhi) said as much”.
However he also said what happened in that period was wrong, but different from the current scenario as at no point of time has the Congress attempted to capture the institutional frameworks of India. He alleged that the members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) have been infiltrating the institutions of the country, targeting the Bharatiya Janata Party. According to him, it would be impossible to get rid of its members even if the BJP was defeated in the election.
The Emergency was imposed from 1975-77, a 21 month long period which had curbed the fundamental rights of its citizens, as well as the freedom of the press was restricted. He also remarked that the Congress has never abused the institutional framework of the country. The ideology of the Congress has been that of equality enumerated in the Constitution and it was in this context that the question of internal democracy had been raised. It was when he witnessed his father’s death that he understood what violence is.
He said that his fellow members had criticized him as he wanted democratic elections to be held in the NSUI levels and Youth Congress. To Gandhi, lack of internal democracy is lacking in parties such as the Bahujan Samaj Party ( BSP) and Samajvadi Party. He also condemned the BJP for keeping the judiciary and the media under check. According to Basu, former Prime Minister, Pranab Mukherjee told him that Indira Gandhi had been worried about losing polls but wanted to hold elections in 1977 as she wanted to “test” it.