Phone tapping reminds Advani of Nixon`s Watergate

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".

PTI



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

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