Remembering Emergency days under Indira Gandhi
Every year since 1977 the people of India remember June 25, 1975 when internal Emergency was declared and imposed on an unsuspecting people of this country.
It all started in 1975 when the Allahabad High Court found Mrs. Indira Gandhi guilty of winning the Parliamentary election by means foul violating the election code of conduct and disqualified her election. The maverick and acerbic, socialist politician Raj Narain, who lost the election against her, had challenged her victory in the Allahabad High Court. Though he had lost the election, he had won the case that made history.
Consequently, instead of resigning her office as Prime Minister, like J. Jayalalithaa did in a similar situation but under a different case, Indira Gandhi chose to protect her positions by declaring Emergency. It is said, the architect of the Emergency, however, was the former West Bengal Chief Minister Siddhartha Shankar Ray even though Indira Gandhi’s first reaction to the adverse High Court judgement was to resign. She had even got her resignation letter typed out but her Cabinet Minister, including Jagjivan Ram, prevailed upon her not to resign, says R.K. Dhawan, who was then the Private Secretary to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
It is one of the ironies of history, that Jagjivan Ram, who countenanced Emergency and prevailed upon Indira Gandhi not to resign, later, after 1977 General Elections, reneged, joined Janata coalition and became the Dy. Prime Minister.
According to Dhawan, Swaran Singh, a senior Minister in the Cabinet, was the only dissenting voice in the Cabinet meeting that was called at 6 am on June 26 to ratify the Emergency. Dhawan recalls that Indira Gandhi was misled by Intelligence Bureau (IB) reports which had predicted that if election was called in 1977, she would win up to 340 seats. This turned out to be her nemesis. She called the...more