NCP corners Shiv Sena, asks if it will admit Bal Thackeray was wrong to back Emergency
It raised the question as the Maharashtra government is handing out pension to those jailed during Emergency; also asks if gangsters jailed then would be declared as freedom fightersmumbai Updated: Jun 16, 2018 13:43 IST
Two days after the Shiv Sena criticised the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar for playing dangerous politics, the party asked the Sena to clarify its stand on the Emergency, imposed in 1975 by then Congress Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, considering that its founder late Bal Thackeray had supported it.
The NCP has put the Sena in an awkward position as it is a partner in the Bharatiya Janata Party-led Maharashtra government, which has decided to give pension to those jailed during the Emergency. The NCP now wants to know whether the Sena thinks Bal Thackeray was wrong in supporting the Emergency, and if so, to admit it.
“The Shiv Sena must clarify its position on the pension decision as Balasaheb openly supported Emergency, saying that it was in the interest of the country. The party should clarify whether the decision taken by Balasaheb on Emergency was wrong,” said Nawab Malik, the NCP’s chief spokesperson.
The NCP has also asked the Sena to disclose if, as part of the coalition government, it had opposed the decision to offer pension.
Following the move in other BJP-ruled states, the Maharashtra government in January decided to accord ‘freedom fighter’ status to all those jailed under the Maintenance of Internal Security Act (MISA) during the Emergency and give them a monthly pension of up to Rs10,000.
“We also want the state government to clarify whether all those jailed during the Emergency will get pension, because people such as [underworld don] Haji Mastan and many other gangsters too were arrested during that period. Is the state government according ‘freedom fighter’ status to all those arrested under MISA,” Nalik asked.
Lambasting the BJP, Malik said this appears to be a desperate attempt by the ruling party to show the young generation that the BJP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) have done something for the country, as they had played no role in the Independence movement.
The Sena is yet to respond to the NCP’s jibes.
The Emergency, considered a dark chapter in Indian democracy, was declared on June 25, 1975, and prominent Opposition leaders and activists were arrested immediately after. Over the years, the BJP has evoked the Emergency frequently to counter attacks on its leadership and totalitarian approach.
First Published: Jun 15, 2018 12:07 IST