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Jairam Ramesh evokes Emergency, compares noteban to sterilisation

The former minister took shots at current government saying the ‘shehnai’ of democracy is being silenced while a cannon of ‘ek-tantra’ (one-man rule) is being fired.

india Updated: Sep 03, 2017 00:24 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India, Ahmedabad
Emergency,noteban,Indira gandhi government
Jairam Ramesh said whatever we are witnessing today is un-proclaimed Emergency.(HT File Photo)

Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Saturday said that ‘note-bandi’ (demonetisation) was like ‘arthik nas-bandi’ (economic vasectomy).

“I am against the Emergency. Whatever happened was wrong, and the Emergency was a wrong decision. But whatever we are witnessing today is un-proclaimed Emergency,” Ramesh said, speaking at a function at Gujarat Vidyapeeth in Ahmedabad.

“It is not my words but that of a great intellectual, writer, economist, who was a senior minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government -- Arun Shourie. Shourie said that it is de-centralised, un-proclaimed Emergency.

“Note-bandi (demonetisation) is in a way like ‘arthik nas-bandi’ (economic vasectomy),” Ramesh said, referring to mass sterilisation undertaken during the Emergency declared by the Indira Gandhi government in 1975.

The democracy is in danger today, he said, adding, “the ‘shehnai’ of democracy is being silenced while a cannon of ‘ek-tantra’ (one-man rule) is being fired.”

Only two people are holding this cannon, he said, in apparent reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP president Amit Shah.

“One is holding it, the other is firing it. There is no difference between taanashani (dictatorship) and ‘Amit Shahi’,” he said.

The NDA government is serving the interest of corporates, he claimed, alleging that it is trying to weaken the Land Acquisition Act and Forest Rights Act passed during the UPA regime.

“There is a new viewpoint that these laws are a roadblock for progress, so remove them. Parliament is being insulted to pass these laws....elections are taking place, political parties exist, people are not being jailed, but there is still an atmosphere of fear,” Ramesh said, adding that social activists are scared of raising voice against the government for fear of being persecuted.

“Very soul of democracy is being snuffed out,” the Congress leader said.

“Those who say they take inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi forget that transparency was the way of his living...transparency was the basic philosophy of his life.

“Proponents of the ideology which said that Ambedkar (Dr B R Ambedkar) is the biggest enemy of Hindus are today worshiping Ambedkar. We should be cautious and be above politics to save the democracy, to strengthen our diversity,” Ramesh said.

First Published: Sep 03, 2017 00:24 IST