RK Dhawan, who was former PM, Indira Gandhi’s private secretary, has revealed that “Rajiv and Sonia did not have any doubts against Emergency” and “Maneka knew everything that Sanjay was doing. She can’t claim ignorance now”.
Apart from embarrassing the Gandhi daughters-in-law, Dhawan said, Indira Gandhi was not aware about the other excesses—forced sterilisations and Turkman Gate destruction. Sanjay Gandhi alone was responsible for them, said Dhawan.
In an interview to a news channel, he said SS Ray, former West Bengal CM, planted the idea in Indira Gandhi’s mind in, January 1975. He can comfortably be called its “architect”.
Emergency was not called to protect Indira Gandhi’s political career after the Allahabad High Court struck down her election and Supreme Court only gave her a conditional stay. Some of the reasons for its imposition included, LN Mishra’s killing, Opposition’s attempts to paralyse the government, ending in Jayaprakash Narayan’s call to the army and the police being asked not to obey illegal orders.
Only one Cabinet minister, Swaran Singh, had doubts about Emergency, while the entire Cabinet was in its favour. The Cabinet meeting lasted 15 minutes. Led by Jagjivan Ram, the Cabinet called on Indira after her election was struck down, insisting she mustn’t resign, Dhawan said. “As a result the resignation letter was not signed,” he added.
“I was present when Indira Gandhi and Ray called on the President to say they wanted him to declare Emergency and the President agreed. He did not hesitate. The President asked Ray to draft the proclamation before midnight and I took the proclamation to Rashtrapati Bhavan for the President’s signature,” said Dhawan.
Dhawan also revealed how plans to arrest people were prepared from 20 or 21 June, 1975. The Chief Ministers of Congress-ruled states were told to be ready to make arrests and also prepare a list of RSS members and opposition leaders to be arrested. Similar preparations were under way in Delhi as well.
Dhawan said, Indira called the 1977 polls, after being told by IB, that, she would win up to 340 seats. She was given the report by Principal Secretary, PN Dhar. Dhawan, however, denied the theory that polls were called, as her conscience had begun to trouble her and this was her way of getting off the Emergency tiger’s back.