On June 25, 1975, a state of Emergency was declared by the then President of India Fakkhruddin Ali Ahmed on the advice of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. There were widespread protests against her government in 1975 and several mass movements and trade union protests were also being organised. But what could have been the main reason or the immediate one for Indira Gandhi to press the panic button? At the root of the hullabaloo over national security was the Allahabad High Court verdict on June 12, 1975, declaring Gandhi’s election to the Lok Sabha null and void. That played the key role in the declaration of Emergency in India. Gandhi’s opponent Raj Narayan had filed a petition against her in the High Court and for the first time, the Prime Minister of India not only had to appear before a court but she was also pronounced guilty of misusing government machinery to get elected. Thus, she lost the court battle and was unseated from the Lok Sabha while being the prime minister. A popular foreign newspaper cleverly termed this as “firing the Prime Minister for a traffic ticket”. The court ruling led to widespread protests all over the country with the Opposition demanding her scalp. Also Read - 'One Family Over Party Interests': Amit Shah Scoffs at 'Emergency Mindset' of Congress
On June 24, 1975, Gandhi didn’t get much relief even from the Supreme Court of India as the apex court upheld the High Court verdict, ordering the withdrawal of her privileges as a Member of Parliament while allowing her to continue as the prime minister, citing pendency of her appeal against the High court verdict. Also Read - 46 Years of 'Smiling Buddha': The Historic Pokhran Test That Made India a Nuclear Power
Amid protests against the government and the rising popularity of the JP movement, Gandhi asked the President to declare Emergency, citing threats to national security. It lasted for 21 months and in the next elections in 1977, both Gandhi and her son Sanjay lost their Lok Sabha seats as Morarji Desai became the first non-Congress Prime Minister of India. Rest, as they say, is history. Also Read - Congress's Throwback Thursday: When Rakesh Sharma Told Indira Gandhi India Looks 'Saare Jahan se Achcha'
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