NEW DELHI : Terming the "Emergency" imposed by late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1975 as an "assault on all democratic institutions", Union Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday said the NDA government's critics using the expression "undeclared Emergency" against it, "need to introspect their own roles during the Emergency".
"It has become customary for the critics of any government in India to casually use an expression 'undeclared Emergency'. Those making these exaggerated comments were either supporting the Emergency or were absent in any protest against the Emergency," he wrote in an open letter on the BJP's website.
The minister said the Emergency established dictatorship of an individual and created an environment of "tyranny and fear" in the society.
"Most institutions collapsed on their own. The Emergency was declared on the midnight of June 25, 1975. The ostensible and the official reason was a threat to public order but obviously this was phoney reasoning," Jaitley said.
The minister was reacting to comments by the Congress that there was an "undeclared Emergency" during NDA's rule. The comments were in response to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's remarks during his monthly radio address 'Mann Ki Baat' earlier in the day, where he had termed Emergency as "dark night" during which the whole country had virtually become a "prison".
"...The real reason was that Indira Gandhi had been unseated in an election petition by the Allahabad High Court and the Supreme Court had granted only a conditional stay of the High Court order. She wanted to continue in power and resorted to imposition of emergency to enable this to happen. It would be in the fitness of things to remind those who loosely use a phrase undeclared Emergency with what happened during that period," the minister wrote.