Amid the ongoing Emergency row in Lok Sabha, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor on Thursday stated that the Emergency, imposed on June 25, 1975 by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, was ‘undemocratic but not unconstitutional.’

Congress leader Shashi Tharoor (PTI)

“I am a critic of the Emergency, but the very fact is that it may have been undemocratic but it was not unconstitutional. A provision of the Constitution permitted the imposition of an internal emergency. That provision has since been removed,” Tharoor told NDTV in an exclusive interview.

Get ready to catch the final stages of the World Cup only on Crickit. Anytime, Anywhere. Explore now!

On Thursday’s address to a joint sitting of Parliament by President Droupadi Murmu, in which she spoke about Emergency, among other things, the senior Congressman mentioned that for the President to call Emergency an ‘attack on the Constitution,’ was ‘actually inaccurate in legal terms.’

“I am not supporting the move, and I am not saying that this is something to be proud of. I think arresting opposition politicians, censoring the press, and a number of steps taken during that period were undemocratic, but, sadly, not unconstitutional,” he remarked.

Tharoor, who recently won his fourth consecutive Lok Sabha election from Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram constituency, accused the Narendra Modi government of raking up the Emergency issue as a ‘diversionary’ tactic.

“The BJP-led NDA government is moving the goalposts. They can talk about 1975 or 2047, and not about the present. The focus must be on burning issues such as unemployment, the NEET paper leaks, and the situation in Manipur,” he asserted.

The Emergency was lifted on March 21, 1977. In the subsequent general elections, Indira Gandhi was voted out of power, and the Janata Party government took office. However, the alliance of disparate parties collapsed in 1979, and Gandhi was re-elected as Prime Minister in 1980, and held the chair until her assassination in 1984.