Indira Gandhi ‘tallest leader’, Modi ‘authoritarian’: Anand Sharma

NEW DELHI, June 26:
Senior Congress leader Anand Sharma today flayed Union minister Arun Jaitley for drawing a parallel between former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and German dictator Adolf Hitler, saying it was an “absurd and outrageous” distortion of history.
Sharma also said India was now witnessing a systemic subversion of all institutions that “uphold our Constitution and democracy under the watch of an authoritarian prime minister and arrogant Government”.
He said that the Emergency imposed by Indira Gandhi in 1975 was an aberration and she herself regretted it.
The Congress leader said Jaitley’s obsession with Hitler was understandable as “he comes from the RSS-BJP school that celebrates Hitler and eulogize fascism”.
“Indira Gandhi was the tallest leader of her times, a democratically elected popular prime minister. Jaitley comparing Indiraji to Hitler is absurd, outrageous and a distortion of history,” he said.
The BJP-RSS cannot insult her memory or belittle her martyrdom. The people of India will remember her as a hero, the Congress leader said.
“The Emergency was an aberration and Gandhi had herself expressed regret. Jaitley is suffering from selective loss of memory. Dictators do not hold elections. Let the BJP be reminded that Gandhi lifted emergency to hold free and fair elections. She herself lost and accepted defeat, and the verdict, with humility,” he said.
Sharma said the debate over the Emergency was decisively settled in 1980 when the people of India brought Gandhi back to power with a thumping majority and “dumped her tormentors and opponents in the dustbin of history”.
“What India is witnessing today is a systematic subversion of all institutions that uphold our constitution and democracy under the watch of an authoritarian Prime Minister and arrogant government, leading to centralization of power, authority and decision making is ominous,” he alleged.
Sharma claimed that history had recorded with respect Gandhi’s contribution, courage and sacrifice.
The liberation of Bangladesh and the biggest victory of any army after the World War 2 cannot be forgotten. India became a nuclear and space power under Gandhi, he added. (PTI)