I don't have the confidence that Emergency cannot happen again: LK Advani
New Delhi: Bharatiya Janata Part (BJP) veteran LK Advani said that the political system of India is still vulnerable to the Emergency-like situation and a similar situation can't be ruled out in the future.
"I don't think anything has been done that gives me the assurance that civil liberties will not be suspended or destroyed again. Not at all," Advani told Indian Express just ahead of the 40th anniversary of the imposition of the Emergency on June 25.
"Of course, no one can do it easily... But that it cannot happen again I will not say that. It could be that fundamental liberties are curtailed again," Advani added.
Advani, also a founding member of the party and now a member of its Margdarshak Mandal, also said that the forces that can crush democracy are stronger.
"At the present point of time, the forces that can crush democracy, notwithstanding the constitutional and legal safeguards, are stronger," he said.
When asked about what makes him to say Emergency can return to India, the 87-year-old leader said: "I do not see any sign in our polity that assures me, any outstanding aspect of leadership. A commitment to democracy and to all other aspects related to democracy is lacking."
POLITICAL LEADERSHIP IS NOT MATURE
"Today, I do not say that the political leadership is not mature. But kamiyon ke karan, vishwas nahin hota (I don't have faith because of its weaknesses). I don't have the confidence that it (Emergency) cannot happen again," he said.
The BJP patriarch, while recalling his nineteen-month stay in jail during the emergency, said that the crime perpetrated by Indira Gandhi government has still to be fully acknowledged and owned up to.
He said, "It happened despite the constitutional safeguards that were in place. There aren't enough safeguards in India in 2015."
The post-emergency victory of Janata Party, he said, would always stop future rulers of repeating what was done in the late 70s.
He said that the 'experience that India has gone through in 1975-77 will make us somewhat wiser than before, so that we can checkmate these forces in advance'.
"The aftermath of the Emergency having been an election in which the party that imposed the Emergency lost very badly, would always be a deterrent for future rulers who think of repeating what was done in the 1970s," he said.
During the emergency, the leaders and activists of the Janata Morcha were imprisoned. After the 1977 elections were called, the constituents of the Janata Morcha formally launched the Janata Party on January 18, 1977. The Janata Party successfully won the general elections and formed the first non-Congress government of India.
To a question on the functioning of other institutions like civil society and the media, the former deputy PM, said: "The media is more independent today, but does it have a real commitment to democracy and civil liberties I don't know. It is something that must be put to the test."
"In civil society, we have only seen the Anna Hazare mobilisation for the Lokpal in recent times. But it has disappointed, after raising hopes. The failure of that movement has highlighted that if an agitation tries to take the form of government, it will not be successful. Of the various institutions that are to be held responsible for a well functioning democracy in India today, the judiciary is more responsible than the others," Advani, who represents Gandhinagar in the Lok Sabha, said.