NewsGram Staff Writer
New Delhi: Despite terming the Emergency imposed in 1975 as the “biggest blow” to Indian democracy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Sunday that it triggered the birth of a new political generation in the country. Speaking at a function celebrating the birth anniversary of Loknayak Jayaprakash, he further said, “Emergency made a huge dent; it was a setback for India’s democratic tradition. But at times, goodness comes out of the bad.”
The prime minister also paid tribute to Bharatiya Jana Sangh leader and social activist Nanaji Deshmukh: “On his birth anniversary, my tributes to the great Nanaji Deshmukh.”
He also met ailing former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and former union minister George Fernandes on the occasion.
The prime minister, in his speech at the Loktantra Prahari Abhinandan to mark the 113th birth anniversary of Jayaprakash Narayan at Vigyan Bhavan, said the political generation that emerged during the Emergency was fully dedicated to the democratic values inspired by JP, as Loknayak Jayprakash Narayan was popularly called.
“The JP movement, the anti-corruption movement, the fight against Emergency after 25 years of Independence was an occasion… Today, the people in political life in India, most of them, are those who were born out of the Emergency,” he said.
JP had the capacity to get some positivity out of the Emergency, he said, adding that Indian democracy became stronger after the Emergency.
“I don’t want to cry about Emergency. We must remember Emergency and recognize the power of democracy… make future generations aware of it. It is the demand of the times,” he said.
On October 7, BJP general secretary Arun Singh had said a nationwide campaign would be held on Sunday to highlight how Nitish Kumar and RJD chief Lalu Prasad, one-time followers of the anti-emergency Jayaprakash Narayan movement, joined hands with Congress, the party which had imposed it.
Meanwhile, describing Loknayak Jayaprakash Narayan as a “true socialist reformer”, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said his ideals would “continue to inspire” all political activists of the country.
(With inputs from IANS)