New Delhi: Attacking the Congress, the BJP on Tuesday said its "image, identity and footprints" continues to be influenced by the Emergency as its recent impeachment move against Chief Justice Dipak Misra was part of an attempt to "threaten" the judiciary.
On a day top BJP leaders spoke across the country to mark the 43rd anniversary of the imposition of the Emergency, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters that the Congress had tried to silence the judiciary then and in a similar manner, has sent out a message to it now by raking up several cases.
The support for the Emergency is in the DNA of the Congress, he alleged.
When it loses elections, it blames the electronic voting machine and the Election Commission and its leaders also attacked the Army chief, Prasad said.
The law minister refuted suggestions that the Modi government also used strong-arm tactics to silence critical voices.
Such allegations are baseless, he said and cited publication of reports about the massive deposits of demonetised notes in a cooperative bank in Gujarat in which BJP president Amit Shah is a director to make his point.
His party is committed to a free press, he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been a victim of the most organised campaign against a leader over the years, he said.
Prasad also supported the demand that a lesson on the Emergency should be included in textbooks.
He cited alleged raking up of the judge Loya death case by Congress chief Rahul Gandhi despite a Supreme Court order that rejected demands for a probe, to target the opposition party.
"Why did they bring impeachment motion? They tried to send out a message to the judiciary," he said, noting that the then Congress government had superseded many Supreme Court judges to appoint a chief justice of its choice.
Top BJP leaders like Modi and Union ministers Rajnath Singh, Arun Jaitley, Sushma Swaraj, Ananth Kumar besides himself had fought against the Emergency and for the freedom of people, judiciary and the press, Prasad said.
He cited documents, including letters, to assert that the then Congress government had long made up its mind to impose the Emergency and any suggestion that Jayaprakash Narayan's speeches were a reason behind it was baseless.
He also took a dig at critics of this government, saying many of them had submitted before the Indira Gandhi dispensation meekly. Prasad, however, praised likes of Kuldip Nayar, Ramnath Goyanka and CR Irani for standing up against it.
High courts across the country had shown courage but the "Supreme Court let us down" during the period, he said.
The Congress had left no stone unturned to lower the judiciary's dignity, including superseding judges.
It started a "culture of sycophancy", he said, quoting slogans coined by its then president DK Barooah lauding Gandhi.