What matters most is the people’s verdict while everything else stands aloft. Politics is a need for the administration of state affairs to have people at its central core. Elections are a more contemporary way of dealing with and determining politics.

Democracy is always kept above politics. It is this hierarchy that, if disturbed, can create havoc in state functioning.

India experienced this imbalance on grounds of ‘Internal Disturbance’ during the 1975 Emergency. The ‘Proclamation of Emergency’ was constructed on piers of twisted Constitutional interpretations, false accusations, and a complete disregard for people’s opinions.

The Constitution of India enlists the Emergency provisions in Part XVIII from Article 352-360. The basic motive behind this incorporation was to safeguard the sovereignty, unity, integrity, and security of the country, the democratic political system, and the Constitution. But the 1975 Emergency seemed to have overruled ‘Democratic’ and spun majorly on the ‘Political system’.

The ‘Proclamation of Emergency was not a drastic decision. A flurry of events seemed to have crossed the frame, the major one being the 1975 Allahabad High Court judgment against the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi convicting her of electoral malpractices during the 1971 Lok Sabha elections. The verdict, delivered on June 12, 1975, by Justice Jagmohanlal Sinha debarred Mrs. Gandhi from holding any elected post for six years.

A diverse democracy like India requires an equivalently magnanimous leader to shoulder the massive weight of responsibilities. India enjoyed the leadership of Indira Gandhi about the traits if only she could bow down to the Supremacy of the Constitution.

Questioning Gandhi’s upper hand across the political domain, socialist leader Jai Prakash Narayan headed a student agitation in Bihar in 1974. As the movement gained steam, JP called for total revolution asking students, farmers, and labor unions to transform Indian society through non-violent means. Gandhi could now sense the political air against her. Adding fuel to fire was the Allahabad High Court’s judgment. Though she was able to stay the order, thanks to her contacts in the Supreme Court, a permanent solution was still desired. Finally, a solution was found under Article 352 of the Indian Constitution. The ‘ Proclamation of Emergency’ was signed by President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed on grounds of the prevailing ‘Internal disturbances’. The midnight of June 24, 1975, did not witness the dawn.

“The President has proclaimed Emergency. There is nothing to panic about”, the words of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 26 that year triggered waves of terror across the nation.

While the Emergency was imposed on the entire nation, the motive was to target the opposition leaders and not directly the common public. It can be called a strategic decision to secure power based on a unilateral mindset and one person’s dire demand for supremacy.

The fundamental rights under Article 19 were dismissed, the major blow being held by the Right to Freedom of Speech and Expression and the Right to Constitutional Remedies. The opposition leaders were arrested without a defined reason. Press censorship was imposed, debarring newspapers from printing any public opinion against the government. Interestingly, at that time, Press was the only independent mass media in India as television and radio were controlled by the government. In the words of LK Advani, “When Mrs. Gandhi asked the media to bend, they crawled.”

One of the most stabilizing traits of a democracy is the equilibrium pursued by the opposition. Paul Henningsen rightly said, “ Democracy can only be measured on the existence of opposition”. It is this crucial trait that India step out of the catastrophe. The ruling party could not keep such prominent opposition leaders behind the bars for too long. So the elections were scheduled for 1977. As rightly said by Bill Moyers, “ Democracy belongs to those who exercise it.” The people of India wisely used their Right to Vote to regain their Fundamental Rights. India saw the rise of a new dawn on 21 March 1977 with the revocation of The ‘Proclamation of Emergency.

The people’s decision led the Janata Party to power in the 1977 elections. Morarji Desai became the first non-Congress Prime Minister of India.

Thereafter the Indian Constitution witnessed a renewal with the introduction of the 44th Amendment Act. One of the major amendments under this act was the replacement of the phrase ‘Internal Disturbance’ with ‘Armed Rebellion’ thus giving the people the right to freely voice their opinions.

Politics is an age-long phenomenon. Major kingdoms and dynasties have witnessed their rise and downfall through their hands. The strategies of state administration have long ruled the chapters of history. But with the advent of elections, a major regulation on the course of politics was experienced and enjoyed by the people since there now existed chances of destiny determination by those being destined upon. Decentralization of power and the shifting of the throne to the people helped modernize the course of politics in India.

In the case of the 1975 Emergency, elections proved to be the deciding factor both for the imposition and the revocation of Article 352. Hence it was not just a unilateral decision but the reinforcement provided by the masses that structurally stabilized the edifice. Contrary to this is the fact that the hands that voted for the Emergency were the same who voted against it. This is a good explanation of how playing with the public can counter- affect the players.

India has crawled through the dark tunnel of Emergency experiencing intense catastrophes and immense complications but has been successful in finally reaching the lit-up end. People did use their democratic power to answer the complex questions posed by the so-called ‘power figures. They did showcase proudly that they stand firmly with those who voice their opinions and wipe out the ones who ditch them in the middle.

The entire chapter of the 1975 Emergency hence concludes with the inter-dependence of both politics and elections, the upholding factor being People’s desire. It hence is the choices that we, the people of India, make that determine our fate shortly in addition to deciding the destiny of the nation.

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