As India marked the 43rd anniversary of the Emergency on Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party did not miss the opportunity to point fingers at the Congress for that dark period between June 25, 1975, and March 23, 1977, which saw a series of curbs on civil liberties and constitutional rights. Imposed by Congress Prime Minister Indira Gandhi ostensibly because of internal disturbances in the country and threats to natural security, the period saw clampdowns on political opposition, press freedom as well as other democratic processes and human rights. The prime minister had unprecedented power during that period, which helped her secure her reign that had been threatened by civil unrest and economic distress.
However, several commentators have claimed that the current situation in India in several ways mirrors those dark days. They have drawn parallels between Indira Gandhi and Modi, as well as alleging that press freedom is shrinking and that the insecurity of minority communities and the economic discontent in the country ie growing.
As the BJP and Modi started a campaign on the weekend to criticise the Congress for the Emergency, some cartoonists tried to draw parallels between the state of democratic freedoms in 1975 and 2018. The current agrarian distress and economic slowdown were other themes of the cartoons.
Maharashtra Navnirman Sena Chief Raj Thackeray also took potshots at the BJP in a cartoon and made a veiled reference to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s remarks likening Indira Gandhi to Adolf Hitler.
A BBC Hindi cartoon showed how the Indian Constitution is being subverted in present-day India just as it was in 1975.
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