Igniting the debate over the emergency imposed in 1975 by late former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday, in a conversation with renowned economist Kaushik Basu, said that the decision to impose the emergency was an absolute mistake and the things that happened during that period were wrong.

Gandhi further said that the emergency period — from 1975 to 1977 — was fundamentally different from current scenarios and asserted that Congress at no point tried to capture India’s institutional framework.”I think that was a mistake. Absolutely, that was a mistake. And my grandmother (Indira Gandhi) said as much. (But) the Congress at no point attempted to capture India’s institutional framework… frankly, it does not even have that capability. Our (the Congress’) design does not allow us (to do),” Rahul Gandhi told Kaushik Basu.

There’s fundamental difference b/w what happened in Emergency,which was wrong&what’s happening now. Congress,at no point,attempted to capture India’s institutional framework. Our design doesn’t allow us that. Even if we want to do it,we can’t,” said Rahul Gandhi yesterday pic.twitter.com/V4iom35XGh— ANI (@ANI) March 3, 2021

Explaining about ‘fundamental difference’ between the emergency period and the current scenario, Rahul Gandhi said that BJP is trying to capture India’ institutional framework and the RSS is filling public service institutions with its people and right-wing extremists.

“Modern democracies function because there is institutional balance… Institutions operate independently. That independence is being attacked in India (by) one big institution called RSS… being systematically done…would not say democracy is eroding, would say it is being strangled,” Gandhi said, asserting that, “So, even if we defeat the BJP in the election, we are not going to get rid of their people in the institutional structure”.

Rahul also recalled a conversation with former MP CM Kamal Nath, days before his government was toppled in the state, and quoted Kamal Nath as saying that ‘senior bureaucrats in his government would not follow his orders as they claimed allegiance to the RSS’. “So, it is fundamentally different what is going on,” Rahul Gandhi remarked.

Rahul Gandhi also spoke about the rifts within the Congress party where a group of 23 members — G23 Leaders — are raising their voices and even had written a letter to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, about their complaints about the functioning of the party over the years and called for sweeping organisational changes.

“I am the first person that says democratic election within the party is absolutely critical but it is interesting to me that this question is not asked about any other political party. Nobody asked why is there no internal democracy in BJP, BSP and Samajwadi Party,” he asked.

The comments on the rift within the Congress came a day after Congress’ WB chief Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury exchanged barbs with senior Congress leader and a member of G-23 group Anand Sharma on Twitter

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