Like the Eknath Shinde-BJP coalition government in Maharashtra recently Announcing the restoration of the pension system For political activists who were imprisoned during the state of emergency imposed by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi from 1975-77, the state Congress criticized the move, asking how CM Shinde, the leader of the rebel Sina faction, could explain the decision, which, the party claimed, was Against the ideology of Shiv Sena founder Pal Thackeray, who had publicly endorsed the state of emergency.
The scheme was initially launched by the BJP-Shiv Sena government led by Devendra Fadnavis in 2018. It was scrapped in 2020 by the Maha Vikas Agadi (MVA) coalition government led by Udhav Thackeray which included Congress and the NCP as partners alongside Sena. . In the new government led by Shinde, Vadnavis is the deputy prime minister even if the BJP is the largest partner in the coalition.
Mumbai Congress unit spokesperson Sachin Sawant said, “This pension scheme is only for RSS. What’s worse is that CM Shinde who said he is going forward with the legacy of late Sena founder Pal Thackeray has been silent on the decision. Thackeray is known to have supported Emergencies. When you say you’re going forward with Thackeray’s legacy, how do you allow it? Isn’t that contradictory?”
In 1975, just before Indira Gandhi declared a state of emergency in the country, there was a meeting between Gandhi and her son Sanjay Gandhi and Takerai. During the meeting, which discussed many issues, Thackeray offered his support to Gandhi for her proposed emergency move. The founder of Sena also said then that “if he makes that country more disciplined, then an emergency will be needed” and that he will lend his support to himself.
It was then reported that Sena was on the list of several political parties and organizations, including the Left and the RSS, which would have been banned by the Gandhi-led exemption after the imposition of a state of emergency in the country, and Thackeray could also have been. Arrested. Many then claimed that Thackeray made a deal with Gandhi during their meeting and removed Sena’s name from the list of parties to be banned. Many have even claimed that Thackeray provided support for Gandhi’s harsh measures to avoid arrest like many opposition leaders and to prevent the government’s crackdown on his party and the publication of Marmick.
Thackeray and Sina later sought to explain that the former supported the state of emergency because there was a need to “ensure discipline” in the country and that it was “necessary” when leaders of the opposition parties that made up the Janata Party made statements that were “hostile” to the country’s interests.
Sina has since asserted that Thackeray’s move was in the “national interest”. “But that doesn’t mean he (Thakirai) was at the time supporting the crackdown on opposition parties and the press,” said one of Sina’s employees. “He said it several times while talking to the media and in the rallies he organized that he told Gandhi during their meeting that if the decision to impose emergency is in the national interest, he supports it but if it is to save the government or stay in power he condemns it.”
The Sina leader also said that despite Thackeray’s support for the state of emergency, his Marmik publishing press was also closed by the exemption at the time. “So it was not as if Thackeray had given up under any pressure or action. Thackeray was doing everything for the sake of the country and Maharashtra.”
Sina MLA Deepak Kesarkar, now a spokesperson for the Shinde-led party faction, said, “Congress shouldn’t talk about Thackeray. He supported the emergency, not Congress or Indira Gandhi. In fact, he said he would never go to Congress. “.
Kesarkar claimed Thackeray’s support for the emergency was “issue-based” and “not restricted to any party or personality”.
During that period there was a need for discipline in the country as opposition leaders made several unacceptable statements that would harm the country’s unity and democracy. “It was totally on point,” he said.