Recent remarks on the Emergency by the newly elected Speaker Om Birla cause uproar

On a historic day in the Indian Parliament, Om Birla was elected as the 18th Speaker of the Lok Sabha. His appointment, however, wasn’t without controversy. Birla’s remarks on the Emergency imposed by former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi sparked protests from the opposition, drawing attention to a dark chapter in India’s democratic history.

Who is Om Birla?

Om Birla, born in 1962, has a longstanding career in Indian politics. His journey began in 1987 when he became the district president of the BJP’s youth wing in Kota. Over the years, he climbed the political ladder, gaining recognition and respect within his party and among the public.

Rise to Prominence

Birla’s significant political journey includes several key positions. In 2003, he won the Kota assembly seat, marking the start of his legislative career in Rajasthan. His dedication and hard work paid off when he was re-elected multiple times, eventually leading to his first Lok Sabha win from Kota-Bundi in 2014.

Election as Lok Sabha Speaker

The role of the Lok Sabha Speaker is pivotal in Indian democracy, acting as a neutral arbitrator in the parliamentary proceedings. Om Birla’s election to this esteemed position was a testament to his experience and dedication. The election process, marked by a lack of consensus between the ruling and opposition parties, highlighted the significance of his appointment.

Birla’s First Address as Speaker

In his inaugural speech, Birla didn’t shy away from addressing sensitive historical events. He condemned the Emergency of 1975, calling it a “black chapter” in India’s history. His speech praised those who resisted the Emergency and fought to protect democracy, emphasizing the importance of upholding democratic values.

Remarks on the Emergency

Birla’s comments on the Emergency were both pointed and provocative. He criticized the imposition of what he termed a “dictatorship” by Indira Gandhi, highlighting the suppression of democratic values and freedom of expression. This condemnation was a bold move, setting the tone for his tenure as Speaker.

Opposition’s Reaction

The opposition reacted swiftly to Birla’s remarks, breaking into protests and sloganeering within the Parliament. Leaders like Rahul Gandhi expressed their discontent, arguing that Birla’s statements were politically charged and aimed at tarnishing the legacy of the Congress party.

Historical Context of the Emergency

To understand the gravity of Birla’s remarks, it’s essential to revisit the historical context of the Emergency. Declared on June 25, 1975, by Indira Gandhi, the Emergency was a response to internal unrest and political instability. It led to the suspension of civil liberties and a clampdown on political dissent.

Role of Indira Gandhi

Indira Gandhi’s decision to impose the Emergency was highly controversial. Critics argue that it was an attempt to maintain power amidst legal challenges and political opposition. The period was marked by widespread human rights abuses, censorship, and the arrest of political opponents.

Impact of the Emergency

The Emergency had profound effects on Indian society. Freedom of speech was severely restricted, and thousands of political activists were detained. The period is remembered for its authoritarian measures and the significant impact on the democratic fabric of the nation.

Democratic Values in India

India prides itself on being the world’s largest democracy, where debate and dissent are integral to its political culture. The Emergency posed a direct threat to these values, making its condemnation an important reminder of the need to safeguard democratic principles.

Birla’s Advocacy for Democracy

Om Birla’s speech highlighted his commitment to protecting democracy. By condemning the Emergency, he positioned himself as a staunch advocate for democratic values, reinforcing the importance of upholding the principles that define India’s political system.

Political Reactions and Analysis

Birla’s remarks drew mixed reactions across the political spectrum. The BJP supported his condemnation, viewing it as a necessary critique of past authoritarianism. Conversely, the opposition saw it as a politically motivated attack on Indira Gandhi’s legacy.

Legacy of the Emergency

The Emergency remains a significant episode in Indian history. It serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of unchecked political power and the importance of maintaining democratic checks and balances. The lessons learned continue to influence India’s political landscape.


Om Birla’s appointment as Lok Sabha Speaker and his subsequent remarks on the Emergency underscore the ongoing relevance of this historical period. His speech was a powerful reminder of the need to cherish and protect democratic values, ensuring that such a “black chapter” never repeats itself.

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