Union minister Venkaiah Naidu on Saturday insisted that journalists can write “anything’’ now unlike during the emergency in the 1970s. “Nowadays you can write whatever you want in this country. I saw an article written by an eminent journalist of the country which said if Narendra Modi dies tomorrow, then another Subbarao can become Prime Minister. You can write anything against the Prime Minister. They accuse, abuse the Prime Minister. They call him impotent also. How come they came to know of it? I do not know,” he said while releasing Prasar Bharati Board chairman A Surya Prakash’s book on the emergency.
Naidu said that the emergency is relevant after so many years because the younger generation needs to know why it happened and what the country did in response. “Constitutional questions arose during the emergency. The hands of the Supreme Court and the press were tied down and except a few no one stood up to fight the emergency,” he said. “Ramnath Goenka and his paper, The Indian Express, were among the few who stood up to fight the emergency. I remember someone telling me that during the emergency most of the media were asked to bend and they began to crawl.’’
Naidu claimed communists took over the institutions as Indira Gandhi was weakened between 1969 and 71. “Nowadays no one calls themselves leftists. People have realized that the left can never be right. These people have occupied all the universities and cultural bodies. But now there is a new thought across the country. It is a nationalist thought. People have realized that they need native culture, native thoughts and native ideology and then people started supporting Narendra Modi and the BJP.’’
Naidu said that people want change and are continuously voting for Modi despite some unpopular decisions. He said this was because they are tired of the earlier ideology and policies which they have tried and failed. “Now these people are not able to digest it. These are people well-entrenched in sections of the media and institutions. Since their time is over and they have to vacate their chair. They are not doing it,’’ he said. “Jhagda kursi ka hai, jhagda freedom ka nahi hai.’’