Lucknow, June 26: On Tuesday, the nation witnessed a 'bizarre' war of words between the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the main opposition Congress over the issue of "declared and undeclared Emergency".
After the BJP decided to officially observe the 43rd anniversary of the Emergency, the Congress attacked the saffron party with the "undeclared Emergency under the Narendra Modi regime" jibe on Tuesday.
The Emergency, imposed by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 25, 1975, was considered as the "darkest period of the Indian democracy" when civil and political rights of every citizen were trampled by the erstwhile Congress government to muzzle any dissent.
The debate over declared and undeclared Emergency was not limited to the Congress and the BJP. Former BJP leader Yashwant Sinha on Monday said the government would not order any probe into the reports of exchange of currency notes worth Rs 745.58 crore at the Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank, in which BJP president Amit Shah is a director, within five days of the announcement of demonetisation.
There is an "undeclared Emergency" in the country which is more dangerous than the one declared by the Indira Gandhi government in 1975, he said, addressing an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) rally in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh over phone.
The former Union finance minister said democracy was in danger and a "joke of the Constitution was being made". "All the government agencies and institutions are being misused and are working on their direction," Sinha, who quit the BJP in April, said.
"They would order probes in cases involving others, but they won't order any probe into the allegations levelled against those in high positions in the (Union) government," he said.
According to reports, currency notes worth Rs 745.58 crore were deposited in the Ahmedabad District Cooperative Bank within five days of Prime Minister Narendra Modi announcing demonetisation on November 8, 2016.
"The BJP president is serving as a director in the bank, in which the currency was exchanged," Sinha said and asked "Who will order a probe into the alleged currency exchange in the bank.
Sinha said, "Democracy was in danger and all the government institutions and agencies like the Enforcement Directorate (ED), Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Income Tax department were being misused and were working on their direction."
He pointed out that a retired Supreme Court judge had said not everything was well within the judiciary. Sinha appealed to the people to hit the roads and raises their voices against this "undeclared Emergency".
Due to health issues, Sinha could not attend the AAP's 'Jan Adhikar Rally' organised at the Beniabagh ground and addressed the gathering through phone.
Yashwant Sinha said as he could not attend the rally, BJP leader and film actor Shatrughan Sinha was representing him.
"In today's undeclared Emergency, there is an atmosphere of fear which has come unannounced. It did not happen suddenly, therefore we did not realise. It's like a slow poison which is being injected into the body politic and is more dangerous than the Emergency of Indira Gandhi," Yashwant Sinha said.
Shatrughan Sinha, the BJP MP from Patna Sahib, said he was raising his voice to change the system and was not working against any person or rebelling against the party.
"Some people used to say that I was rebelling (against the party) because I was not made a minister in the NDA government but I want to tell them that I don't have any ambition to become a minister as I had already been a cabinet minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government," he said.
However, the actor-turned-politician said, "If a lawyer could become finance minister, a TV actress could directly become HRD minister, a so-called tea-seller could become the prime minister, then I want to know why I cannot become a minister, despite having all the good qualities."
Shatrughan Sinha termed the Centre's demonetisation move and GST a mere "Digital drama" that had only created problems for the common man.
He said when people from his constituency asked him what did GST mean, he replied in Bhojpuri to them that it meant "Gayil Sarkar Tohar" (your government is gone).
AAP leader and Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh also addressed the rally and criticised the Modi government over issues related to employment, economy and health.
Apna Dal (Krishna Patel faction) state president Pallavi Patel and socialist thinker Raghu Thakur were also present at the rally.
As attacks and counter-attacks over the Emergency continued between the BJP and the Congress, it is the voters who wondered if the politicians would ever address the real issues plaguing the nation.