Coming down heavily on the Congress over its recent book on the party’s history and devoting just "two paragraphs" to the Emergency of 1975, senior BJP leader L K Advani wrote a blog on Sunday calling the "Emergency akin to Nazi rule". Advani seems to be paying the Congress in its own coin with the comparison. This comes days after Congress leader Digvijaya Singh had compared the RSS to the Nazis at the Congress plenary.
While attacking the Emergency for its excesses, mass arrests and suspension of fundamental rights, Advani obliquely defended Sanjay Gandhi.
"The second paragraph (on the Emergency) from the book quoted above is a ridiculous attempt to make Sanjay Gandhi a scapegoat for all the misdeeds the country had to suffer during the Emergency," Advani wrote, in line with the BJP’s strategy of going soft on Sanjay Gandhi while attacking the then-Indira Gandhi government.
It is believed that the softened stance is because Sanjay Gandhi’s widow Maneka Gandhi and son Varun Gandhi are BJP MPs. Attacking Indira Gandhi, Advani wrote, "Without consulting her Cabinet, or even her law minister and home minister, she made president Fakhruddin ali Ahmed invoke Article 352 to put democracy under indefinite suspension."
"The Congress Party has admitted that more than one-lakh persons were jailed during the Emergency. The exact number was 1,10,806," Advani said.
The Emergency has been crucial to the BJP's politics not just because many of its leaders were jailed, but because it gave the RSS-Jana Sangh entry into constitutional space for taking up a cause that was not Hindutva-based.