Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leaders slammed the Congress on the 45th anniversary of Emergency on Thursday, alleging it still suffered from the "Emergency mindset" and the interests of "one family" prevailed over those of the party and the country.
While Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has often criticised Congress for imposing Emergency in 1975, made no mention of the party in his tweet but lauded the people who fought against it, Home Minister Amit Shah and other BJP leaders launched a broadside against the Congress.
Modi said the sacrifice of people who fought for democracy and suffered torture during Emergency will never be forgotten by the country.
Shah said the interests of "one family" prevailed over the party and national interests, and questioned why the "Emergency mindset" still remained in the Congress. He said the "sad truth" was that leaders were feeling suffocated in the Congress.
"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," he said in a series of tweets.
Former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi had imposed Emergency, which suspended civil rights and elections, on June 25, 1975, and it continued till March 21, 1977.
Opposition leaders and some even belonging to the Congress who were seen to be opposed Gandhi's style of governance were put behind bars.
Shah said due to the 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's interests and national interests. This sorry state of affairs thrives in today's Congress too!" he said.
Referring to a recent Congress Working Committee meeting, Shah said senior and younger members raised a few issues but they were shouted down. He said a Congress spokesperson was unceremoniously sacked.
Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar said the conduct of the Congress even now is to save "one family".
"I wonder, those who killed democracy 45 years ago are questioning the government today. The party that suppressed the entire system, ended the freedom of all and jailed scores of people, particularly from the opposition, is now raising slogans of freedom," he asked.
Such politics will not work, Javadekar said.
Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said let the new generations draw the right lessons from Emergency, as he attacked the Congress for its "grossly undemocratic" behaviour which he claimed still continues.
In a series of tweets, he said today is the day "to recall the heroic sacrifices of people of India against the grossly undemocratic behaviour of the Congress Party."
Addressing Tamil Nadu BJP workers, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the "power hungry" Congress government took away people's rights by clamping Emergency this day 45 years, and it was anguishing when the same party spoke on democracy.
She also attacked the DMK, the main opposition party in the state, over its alliance with the Congress.