Phone tapping reminds Advani of Nixon`s Watergate
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Last Updated: Monday, May 10, 2010, 22:42
New Delhi: BJP Parliamentary Party Chairman L K Advani today said recent reports of phone tapping reminded him of the Watergate scandal during Richard Nixon's regime in the US as well as alleged atrocities of Indira Gandhi-led Congress during the Emergency.

"The report (on phone tapping) caused an uproar in the Parliament. Government did not deny the story. All that it said was: the surveillance was 'not authorized'," Advani wrote in his blog today.

"Government did not even say that they would find out who had undertaken this exercise without authority, and haul up the 'culprits'. Obviously, no one other than Government itself had done it," he added.

He also noted that government had not denied the story in a magazine relating to Union Minister Sharad Pawar, in which it was said that Pawar?s conversation with Lalit Modi was used to pressurise the NCP leader to call for Modi's resignation.

The former deputy prime minister said he was "convinced" that the real test of a ruling party's commitment to democracy comes only when adherence to democratic norms pose a danger to its continuance in office.

Looking at Congress record during the Emergency, Advani says exposures about phone tapping, misuse of CBI and Intelligence agencies, bullying and bribing of MPs and parties to save government from cut motions "need not surprise any one".

Recalling the Watergate scandal, Advani says, "Without doubt, (it) is an indelible stigma on the history of American democracy....In the context of Indian democracy, the Emergency of 1975-77 is a similar black spot."

Quoting Theodore H White, who authored "The Fall of Richard Nixon, Advani said the US President broke the faith that his country had in democracy.

"The faith holds that all men are equal before the law and are protected by it; and no matter how the faith may be betrayed elsewhere by the ugly compromise of daily striving, at one particular point, the Presidency, justice is beyond the possibility of a fix," Advani says, quoting White.

Invoking findings of the Shah Commission, Advani writes that there was nothing to warrant a national emergency in the country in 1975.

"The emergency exposed in a frightening manner that the Congress Party's commitment to democracy is skin deep," Advani said, adding, the party had jailed Jai Prakash Narain, Morarji Desai, Chandra Shekhar, and A B Vajpayee for "being threats to national security" and kept them in jail without trial for months on end.

Advani insisted that such a party "can certainly have no qualms about taking repeated potshots at democratic laws and practices, as they have been lately doing".


First Published: Monday, May 10, 2010, 22:42

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