Image Source : PTI Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla

Hours after being re-elected as the Lok Sabha Speaker Om Brila faced uproar from the Opposition after he asked the members to rise for two minutes’ silence to mark the 50th anniversary, which was termed as the “dark days of Emergency” by the Modi government. His appeal sparked a stir in the Lower House as Congress MPs raised slogans against the government. 

On the motion on emergency presented in Lok Sabha today, the Lok Sabha Speaker said, “This House strongly condemns the decision to impose Emergency in the country in 1975. Along with this, we appreciate the determination of all those people who strongly opposed the emergency, fought an unprecedented struggle and took the responsibility of protecting the democracy of India.”

“The aim of these amendments made by the Congress government was to bring all the power to one person, control the judiciary and eliminate the basic principles of the Constitution. By doing this, the rights of citizens were suppressed and the principles of democracy were attacked,” he added.

“Not only this, the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi also talked about committed bureaucracy and committed judiciary, which is an example of her anti-democratic attitude. The Emergency brought with it such terrible policies filled with anti-social and dictatorial spirit, which destroyed the lives of the poor, Dalits and the deprived,” Birla metioned.

During the Emergency, people had to suffer the brunt of compulsory sterilisation imposed by the Congress government, arbitrariness in the name of removing encroachment in cities and the government’s evil policies, he said, adding this House wants to express its condolences to all those people.

“That dark period from 1975 to 1977 is a period in itself, which reminds us of the principles of the Constitution, the importance of the federal structure and judicial independence. This period reminds us how all these were attacked at that time and why it is necessary to protect them,” Birla asserted.

PM Modi’s reaction to Birla’s statement on Emergency

Prime Minister Narendra Modi praised Birla for his statement condemning the Emergency in the Lok Sabha. “I am glad that the Honourable Speaker strongly condemned the Emergency, highlighted the excesses committed during that time and also mentioned the manner in which democracy was strangled. It was also a wonderful gesture to stand in silence in honour of all those who suffered during those days. The Emergency was imposed 50 years ago but it is important for today’s youth to know about it because it remains a fitting example of what happens when the Constitution is trampled over, public opinion is stifled and institutions are destroyed. The happenings during the Emergency exemplified what a dictatorship looks like,” PM Modi posted on X.

Meanwhile, noting that he is the first Speaker after Balram Jakhar, who was in the Chair between 1980 and 1989, to get another term after serving a full tenure, the prime minister expressed confidence that he will continue to create new benchmarks. Modi pointed out to a 20-year period when those elected Speaker either did not contest elections or did not win an election after their appointment and said it is Birla, who has scripted history by returning as Speaker after emerging victorious again.

The prime minister noted the previous Lok Sabha notched up to 97 per cent productivity, highest in 25 years, and said Birla ensured the House functioning even during the Covid period and maintained its dignity and decorum, at times by taking difficult decision. He noted that the polite and humble personality of Birla and his winning smile help him in conducting the House. Modi also mentioned the personal touch and concern of the Speaker for the members during the pandemic.

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