On Tuesday, at an Cornell University organized event, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said that the Emergency imposed from 1975 to 77 by the late former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was a “mistake” and he also claimed that what happened in that period was “wrong”.

The Emergency suspended civil liberties and constitutional rights, restricted the media severely and put into jail many opposition leaders. However, on Tuesday, Rahul Gandhi said that between what is happening today and what happened in 1975-77, there was a “fundamental difference”. As the current situation he meant the RSS is filling institutions with its people. It was “fundamentally different from the current scenario,” he added.

In a conversation with renowned economist Kaushik Basu, Gandhi said, “I think that was a mistake. Absolutely, that was a mistake. And my grandmother 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).”

The ruling BJP party often slammed and blamed the Congress on this matter as during the Emergency period, many BJP leaders were jailed. Last year in June, in a series of tweets, Home Minister Amit Shah targeted the Congress and the Gandhis, saying “one family’s greed for power” turned the nation into a “prison” overnight. Shah tweeted, “The press, courts, free speech all were trampled over. Atrocities were committed on the poor and downtrodden.”

On the other hand, the Supreme Court said in December, that it would examine whether after so many years, the Emergency could be declared “wholly unconstitutional”. Following a petition filed by a 94-year-old woman, the centre was asked to respond to this matter.

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