Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday referred to the 19-month period of Emergency in 1975-77 as 'dark days', and said nobody would be able to forget it.
"A few people were constantly asking during the debate - 'Who did it? Who did it?' I want to ask them - today is June 25. Who imposed the Emergency? Who trampled over the spirit of the Constitution, gagged the media and bullied the judiciary? We cannot forget those dark days," PM Modi said, in his reply to the debate in the Lok Sabha on the Motion of Thanks to President Ram Nath Kovind's address to Parliament.
44th anniversary of Emergency: PM hails India's democratic ethos, salutes those who resisted Emergency
Incidentally, today [June 25] happens to be the 44th anniversary of the emergency imposed by former prime minister Indira Gandhi -- 19-month period from 1975 to 1977.
The final decision to impose an emergency was proposed by Congress leader, late Indira Gandhi, agreed upon by the president of India, and thereafter ratified by the cabinet and the parliament (from July to August 1975), and was based on the rationale that there were imminent internal and external threats to the Indian state.
The Emergency lasted for over 19 months, and its legacy remains controversial -- till date.
'Who contributed to the progress?'
At the Lok Sabha, PM Modi said there were a few people inside the Parliament who thought only they were responsible for the progress of the country and that they should get a reality check.
"There are some people who feel only a few names contributed to national progress. They only want to hear those few names and ignore the others. But we think differently, we feel each and every citizen has worked for India's progress," PM Modi said.
PM Modi added: "Did those in power from 2004 to 2014 ever talk about the good work of Atalji [former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee]? Did they ever speak about the good work of [former prime minister PV] Narasimha Raoji? In this Lok Sabha debate, the same people did not even speak of [another former prime minister, but a Congress leader] Manmohan Singhji."
Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary and India's 75 years of independence
The prime minister also said that the "landmark occasions" of Mahatma Gandhi's 150th birth anniversary and India's 75 years of independence should be celebrated enthusiastically.
"During the freedom struggle, brave women and men died for the nation. This led to Independence. Today, we have to live for the nation and build the India our freedom fighters dreamt of. I urge everyone to observe Gandhi's birth anniversary and 75 years of India's freedom with great vigour," he said.
PM Modi also thanked the voters for electing a stable government.
"After many decades, the country has given a strong mandate. They have brought back a government by giving it more seats. In today's atmosphere, India's vibrant democracy is a moment to be proud of," he said.
PM Modi said that the Lok Sabha election result showed that "more than themselves, the people of India are thinking about the good of the nation. And this spirit is wonderful".
PM Modi said he did not view elections as to who won and who lost.
"For me, what is satisfying is the opportunity to serve 130 crore Indians and work to make a positive difference in their lives."