Union Home Minister Amit Shah tore into the Nehru-Gandhi family on the 45th anniversary of the Emergency imposed by then prime minister Indira Gandhi. The Emergency, imposed by Indira Gandhi on June 25, 1975, lasted for 21 months and saw the arrests of thousands of opposition activists. These included members of the BJP’s predecessor, the Jana Sangh; the Emergency has been a key milestone in the rise of the BJP.

On Thursday morning, Shah put up a series of tweets on the Emergency, targeting the Congress and in particular, the Nehru-Gandhi family. The current Congress chief is Sonia Gandhi, daughter-in-law of Indira. Sonia’s son, Rahul, and daughter, Priyanka, are also key figures in the Congress. Shah also spoke about “atrocities” on the poor and downtrodden, in an apparent reference to the mass sterilisation campaign, which was blamed for the Congress losing support in large parts of north India in the 1977 general election.

Shah tweeted, “On this day, 45 years ago one family’s greed for power led to the imposition of the Emergency. Overnight the nation was turned into a prison. The press, courts, free speech… all were trampled over. Atrocities were committed on the poor and downtrodden.”

Shah further alleged the “sorry state of affairs” of one family’s interests prevailing over “party interests and national interests” still “thrives in today’s Congress”.

Shah tweeted, “Due to efforts of lakhs of people, the Emergency was lifted. Democracy was restored in India but it remained absent in the Congress. The interests of one family prevailed over party interests and national interests. This sorry state of affairs thrives in today’s Congress too!”

Shah then claimed many leaders are feeling “suffocated” in the Congress, even referring to the sacking of a party spokesperson. Last week, Sanjay Jha was removed as Congress spokesperson. The decision to drop Jha came after he wrote a newspaper article criticising the Congress.

Shah tweeted, “During the recent CWC meet, senior members and younger members raised a few issues. But, they were shouted down. A party spokesperson was unceremoniously sacked. The sad truth is leaders are feeling suffocated in Congress.”

In another tweet, Shah asked the Congress, “Why does the Emergency mindset remain?” and warned the party’s “disconnect with people will keep widening”.

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