New Delhi: The BJP on Wednesday said Sanjay Gandhi alone could not be held responsible for the excesses committed during the Emergency and accused the Congress of being in the habit of putting all the blame for its "wrong-doings" on those who are either dead or "not in the mainstream".
"After 35 years, the Congress party has accepted that the Emergency was a mistake. But they are trying to heap the
blame for their mistake on others. The Congress always tries
to hide its wrong-doings," BJP Spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain told reporters.
He was referring to a Congress publication titled "Congress and the Making of the Indian Nation" on completion of 125 years of the party. The book, edited by Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, states that Sanjay Gandhi acted in an "authoritarian and arbitrary manner" on issues of family
planning and slum clearance during the Emergency.
Noting that Sanjay Gandhi had by then emerged as a leader of great significance, the book said it was due to his support to family planning that the government decided to pursue it more vigorously.
"He also promoted slum clearance, anti-dowry measures and promotion of literacy but in an arbitrary and authoritarian manner much to the annoyance of the popular opinion" it says.
Sanjay Gandhi`s widow Maneka and son Varun are now BJP MPs and the latter is also a national secretary and election in-charge of the party for Assam.
As if defending Sanjay Gandhi, Hussain said, "Indira Gandhi was powerful enough to take her own decisions."
Pressed further about Sanjay Gandhi`s involvement in the excesses during the Emergency, Hussain said, "Each Congress
leader was responsible for it but it is not our culture to blame those who are dead.... Congress always tries to distance itself from controversial issues... On Ayodhya issue, they tried to put the blame on a former Prime Minister."