The Emergency Indira never wanted to impose

The key-villains of the Emergency (1975-77): Indira Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi
The Emergency Indira never wanted to impose
·         Sanjay Gandhi told her angrily that he would not let her resign as PM
·        JP’s call to the armed forces and police to revolt changed the scenario
Dr. Hari Desai

Sometimes certain perceptions created by interested groups make one accept the history as created without bothering to check and crosscheck. Four years after Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination in 1984, her closest friend Pupul Mehta-Jayakar  came out with her most authentic biography and revealed certain hidden facts about how she declared the Emergency in June 1975. Unfortunately, despite Indiraji and her Congress had repeatedly apologized for the black period of 21 month Emergency, those opposed to Nehru-Gandhi family and the Indian National Congress continued to abuse late Indira and late PM Rajiv, who was also assassinated, for the misdeeds and excesses during the Emergency. Both Indira Gandhi and her elder son, Rajiv, who was pilot with the Indian Airlines then, initially opposed imposing the Emergency and curtailing the democratic and constitutional rights of the people. 
Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was prepared to resign as the Prime Minister immediately after she heard the news on 12 June 1975 that the Allahabad High Court had set aside her election and disqualified her as a Member of Parliament. Siddharth Shankar Ray, the last Congress Chief Minister of West Bengal, literally stop her from resigning and her younger son and heir apparent in politics, Sanjay Gandhi, forced her declaring not only the Emergency but was mainly responsible for all the excesses during the Emergency. Sanjay was even keen that she did not declare the Lok Sabha elections in January 1977 and release all the opposition leaders who were imprisoned. Knowing it fully well that she would lose the elections, she declared the elections to be held in March 1977 and released most of the leaders. Not only her Congress party lost the elections, she herself and her son Sanjay too were defeated from Raibareli and Amethi respectively. Of course, she bounced back within three years. 
Pupul Jayakar writes in “Indira Gandhi: A Biography”: “Her instinctive response to the judgment was, ‘I must resign immediately.’ Siddharth Shankar Ray argued with her. ‘Let us think it over. You should not take a decision in a hurry.’ But she was adamant.” “Sanjay Gandhi, who was away in his car factory, came home at lunch time. Unaware of what had happened, once he was told he was quick to gauge the situation. He took his mother to her room and told her angrily that he would not let her resign. He was particularly outraged to learn of (D.K.) Barooah’s suggestion that she should take over the Congress Presidentship from him, while he took over as Prime Minister, for a short period, till her appeal was heard by the Supreme Court. Sanjay pointed out at once that once Barooah had taken over as Prime Minister he would not vacate the post for her.” When Barooah could sense that his proposal to be acting PM had not found favour in Indira’s eyes, he started saying, ‘Indira is India, India is Indira, the two are inseparable.’ 
Nani A. Palkhivala, a well-known constitutional lawyer from Mumbai was approached by her legal advisers to fight her appeal in the Supreme Court. He agreed. The Vacation judge, Justice V.R.Krishna Iyer heard the interim appeal on the stay order and on 22 June granted a partial stay order pronouncing she could continue as Prime Minister till the appeal was disposed by the full bench of the Supreme Court. On 24 June, Ray was back to Delhi to find the PM tense. She told him that Jayaprakash Narayan was to hold a mammoth rally on the Ram Lila Maidan where he was to ask the armed forces and the police to revolt and disobey orders which did not consider lawful. As a legal brain, he could find a reference in the Supreme Court decisions of US ‘for the imposition of Emergency laws’. And on 25 June at 8pm, both PM Gandhi and CM Ray were with the President, Fakharuddin Ali Ahmed, with the proposal to promulgate Emergency laws under Article 352 of the Constitution! And rest is the history.


The Emergency Indira never wanted to impose The Emergency Indira never wanted to impose Reviewed by Dr.Hari Desai on June 21, 2019 Rating: 5

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