29 July, 2021

What If Indira Gandhi Had Not Declared Emergency?

Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had declared Emergency on June 25, 1975, curbing civil liberties across the country, plunging the republic into darkness. Veteran journalist Kuldip Nayyar writes for Outlook what if the draconian measure had not been clamped.

Virendra Prabhakar
What If Indira Gandhi Had Not Declared Emergency?

"Mrs Gandhi Unseated . " That was the ‘flash ’ message which N.K.I. Seshan, her private secretary, ripped off from the UNI teleprinter. A lightning call from Allahabad too confirmed that Justice Jagmohan Lal Saxena, who was hearing the election petition against Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, had held her guilty of ‘misusing’ of ficial machinery during the poll campaign. He had debarred her from occupying an elected of fice for six years but had stayed the order for three weeks, from June 12 to July 3, 1975, to enable her to go in appeal to the Supreme Court.

The punishment, many in the PM’s house felt, was like unseating her for a traffic offence. Rajiv simply told his mother: "They have unseated you." But all awaited the return of Sanjay from his Maruti factory coming up in Gurgaon. He was already the power behind the throne.

Initially, Mrs Gandhi was inclined to step down till the SC exonerated her. She even sounded out Kamalapati Tripathi, her trusted cabinet minister, to be ready to step in temporarily if she were to do so. Jagjivan...

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