The sign that the present BJP leadership has moved away and is ignoring senior leaders, has come to the fore yet again, as Bharatiya Janata Party patriarch, LK Advani, was not invited to a programme organised by the party to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Emergency.
The programme was ironically organised to felicitate those who fought against Emergency. The event, titled Loktantra Ka Kala Din (A Black Day of Democracy) was attended by BJP President Amit Shah; several people who were the victims of brutal torture during the Emergency, were felicitated.
Senior BJP leader L.K. Advani, who was one of the architects of the anti-Emergency movement, was conspicuously absent from an event organised by the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Research Foundation, to mark 40 years since the Emergency and Party Chief Amit Shah, replaced him as the main speaker. Shah even refused to answer questions as to why L K Advani was not invited for the event. He later left in his car in a huff.
A stalwart of the opposition’s crusade against the Emergency, Advani was missing at the event organised by Shyama Prasad Mukherjee Research Foundation, a BJP-affilated body. Advani, spent 19 months in jail during the Emergency and has been one of its most vocal critics.
The then Prime Minister, Mrs Indira Gandhi, had declared Emergency in the country, on June 25, 1975, after the Allahabad High Court and subsequently the Supreme Court found her election to the Lok Sabha ‘null and void’.
In fact, Advani had recently commented on the Emergency, which had embarrassed the BJP leadership. In an interview ahead of the 40th Anniversary of the Emergency, the veteran BJP leader said that, “at the present point of time, the forces that can crush democracy, notwithstanding the constitutional and legal safeguards, are stronger.”
Much to the embarrassment of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre, Advani said that, “a commitment to democracy is lacking in the country”. The BJP veteran further added that, “I do not see any sign in our polity that assures me, any outstanding aspect of leadership. A commitment to democracy and to all other aspects related to democracy is lacking.”
Pointing that there were not “enough safeguards in India in 2015” to prevent an emergency-like situation, Advani said that he could not assert confidently that an emergency could not happen again. Though he touched upon some “weaknesses” in the political leadership, he added that, he, in no way meant that it was “not mature”.