Jaitley cites Hitler to target Congress over Emergency

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Under fire over ‘intolerance’ issue, government on Friday cited Hitler’s actions in Germany in 1930s to target Congress in Rajya Sabha for imposing Emergency by “subverting” the Constitution and said “dictatorship was at its worst” as even right to life and liberty was suspended. Initiating a discussion on the ‘Commitment to India’s Constitution’, finance minister Arun Jaitley said measures should be taken to strengthen the Constitution and ensure that democracy is not subverted again. Jaitley narrated the sequence of events that took place in Hitler’s regime, suggesting that these were replicated by Indira Gandhi who imposed Emergency in 1975. “There are worst illustrations in history when Constitutional systems are used to subvert the Constitution… You have the most glaring example in the world when in 1933 in Germany Emergency was declared,” he said, while countering the attack on goverment over ‘intolerance’ issue. He said Hitler, using the pretext of a threat to “set ablaze the German Parliament”, imposed Emergency, detained opposition to gain majority for amending the Constitution, censured the press and came out with a 25-point economic programme. “You impose Emergency, detain opposition, amend the Constitution, impose censorship on newspapers and announce a 25-point economic programme. “Thereafter, you brought a law that no action taken by government was justiciable in court and then Hitler’s immediate adviser Rudolf Hess in his speech ended by a sentence that ‘Adolf Hitler is Germany, Germany is Adolf Hitler’,” he said. Though he said he was only referring to the events of 1933 in Germany, Jaitley was apparently citing similarities to actions during Indira Gandhi’s regime when it was said ‘Indira is India, India is Indira’. “What happened in other parts of the world later, Germany never claimed a copyright,” Jaitley added.

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