India

LK Advani's 'emergency rule' remark divides opinions

Gujarat chief minister and BJP PM candidate Narendra Modi, right, and senior party leader Lal Krishna Advani at the party workers' convention in Gandhinagar on Monday Feb 10, 2014. Image copyright AP
Image caption LK Advani (L) shares an uneasy relationship with Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Veteran politician LK Advani's remarks about civil liberties in India have sharply divided opinion on social media platforms.

In an interview with The Indian Express, Mr Advani said "a commitment to democracy and to all other aspects related to democracy is lacking" in India.

He also made references to former PM Indira Gandhi's decision to impose emergency during her tenure.

In 1975, Mrs Gandhi declared a state of emergency across India, suspending elections and curbing civil rights.

"Today, I do not say that the political leadership is not mature. But kamiyon ke karan, vishwas nahin hota (I don't have faith because of its weaknesses). I don't have the confidence that it (Emergency) cannot happen again," he told the paper.

Mr Advani added that he believed that "at the present point of time, the forces that can crush democracy, notwithstanding the constitutional and legal safeguards, are stronger".

He is one of India's political stalwarts. Known for his formidable organising skills, Mr Advani is credited with scripting the rise of the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) - of which Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a member - as a major political force.

Mr Advani, 87, helped take the party from two parliamentary seats in 1984 to government within 15 years.

The veteran leader, however, has now been overshadowed by younger politicians like Mr Modi.

Analysts say the prime minister is known for his decisive - but often authoritarian - way of running the government.

In 2013, Mr Advani resigned from all party positions over what was seen as his displeasure over Mr Modi's rise in the BJP.

The veteran leader, however, later withdrew his resignation after pressure from the senior leadership.

Some Twitter users feel that Mr Advani's latest comments can be linked to the federal government run by his own party.

Image copyright Twitter
Image copyright Twitter

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who is at loggerheads with Mr Modi's national government, wondered if the capital city was their "first experiment".

Image copyright Twitter

But others are angry over Mr Advani's statement, saying he is still "upset over Mr Modi's rise in the party".

Image copyright Twitter
Image copyright Twitter

Then there are some Twitter users who believe that Mr Advani's statement wasn't targeted at Mr Modi.

Image copyright Twitter

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