Congress denies book on its history demeans Sanjay Gandhi
Congress Wednesday denied reports that a new book on its 125-year
history blames the excesses during the Emergency on its late
leader Sanjay Gandhi, saying then prime minister Indira Gandhi had
herself expressed regret over some actions taken during the
A book published by the Congress to mark its 125-year history lays
the entire blame for the 1992 Babri Masjid demolition on the Sangh
Parivar and contends that the then central government headed by
P.V. Narasimha Rao took several steps to control the difficult
The book, "Congress and the Making
of the Indian Nation", that has been edited by senior party leader
Pranab Mukherjee, says the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) had
launched a campaign since the mid-1980s to "liberate" Ram
Janambhoomi, demolish the mosque and build a temple at the Ayodhya
The book contends that the Rath Yatra organized by senior
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani in 1990 "enhanced
"On December 6, 1992, the VHP organized a huge rally of volunteers
in Ayodhya and demolished the Babri Mosque while top BJP leaders
looked on. Kalyan Singh, the BJP Chief Minister of UP, and BJP
leaders at the Centre had repeatedly assured the Supreme Court and
Parliament that the structure would be protected. In fact, the
destruction took place with the collusion of the state
government," says the book.
It says that destruction of the mosque unleashed large-scale
communal violence, "the most extensive since the partition of
The book says that the union cabinet sacked the Kalyan Singh
ministry on the very night of the demolition.
"A red alert was sounded in most parts of the country and the army
staged flag marches in sensitive areas with curfew being clamped
in several towns. The choice before the government was - firing on
the crowd which would have led to a violent Hindu backlash;
non-intervention which would leave communal forces unchecked. On
Dec 7, the government announced a ban on all communal
organizations," the book says.
The book, which has a chapter on Rao, says the major achievement
of his government was the implementation of economic reforms which
the party had outlined in its 1991 election manifesto.
It says that it was creditable that the Narasimha Rao was the
first prime minister from outside Nehru-Gandhi family to complete
his full term.