San Francisco, June 24: It is not possible today for the world's largest democracy to become 'dictatorial', Finance Minister Arun Jaitley has said, while terming the Emergency imposed by the then Congress government in 1975 as the darkest phase of independent India.
Jaitley said Emergency was a phase which showed that a democracy can be converted into a dictatorship by using some provisions of the Constitution and all the major institutions like bureaucracy, police, media and judiciary can collapse.
"I think, today the global awareness is in favour of the democracy and the kind of sanctions which can be imposed on a dictatorship itself can be a deterrent.
"I think, the media is also strong, the polity is strong and the global institutions are also strong. The world would not accept the world's largest democracy becoming dictatorial today," Jaitley told PTI in an interview here.
A major controversy broke out recently after BJP patriarch L K Advani expressed concerns that "forces that can crush democracy are stronger" now and that Emergency-like situation could emerge again [LK Advani fears an Emergency-like situation may arise in the country].
The comments were seen by the Congress as being aimed at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, while Aam Aadmi Party felt it was the "first indictment" of Modi's politics. Other opposition parties also said that Advani's comments should be taken seriously.
Today the global awareness is in favour of the democracy: Jaitley
Without referring to Advani's comments, Jaitley said the media censorship is not possible today "because of the technology itself". "You have news travelling through the internet and the internet can't be censored," Jaitley said.
Jaitley said that the polity was strong even during the Emergency, but "the media had by and large caved in".
Recalling his own experiences from the Emergency days, Jaitley said he hopes that "the judiciary today is far more independent and does not cave in to any dictatorial tendencies as it caved in during emergency".
"But the fact that detentions are no longer possible without a basis, media censorship is no longer possible and hopefully judiciary would be far more independent, it would not be possible for anybody to convert a democracy into a dictatorship without these three limbs," he said.