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‘RSS chief backed Emergency but Indira refused to meet him’


TV Rajeswar, the senior most joint director of IB when the Emergency was imposed by Indira Gandhi in 1975, said in an interview to India Today that Emergency was suggested by senior Congress leader from West Bengal Siddhartha Shankar Ray. Rajeswar was dealing with political parties and elections during Emergency and later became the chief of the intelligence agency. He said the IB had no clue of Emergency, and even he himself got the news from radio.

Speaking about the role of former Sarsanghchalak of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh Balasaheb Deoras, he said Deoras quietly established a link with the PM’s house and expressed strong support for several steps taken to enforce order and discipline. Even Deoras was keen to meet Mrs Gandhi and her son Sanjay but the Prime Minister refused.

“The organization (RSS) had specifically conveyed its support to the Congress in the post-emergency elections,” he said. His remarks indicate that during the polls in 1977, when the Jan Sangh as part of the Janata Party was fighting Indira Gandhi, the RSS was quietly on the Congress leader’s side.

Rajeswar further said Indira Gandhi had full knowledge of the excesses of the emergency, such as demolition of Turkman Gate and the excesses of sterilisation and family planning. He said she got regular quarterly and half-yearly feedback from the IB that were officially given to her.

Either Indira Gandhi didn’t realise the seriousness of what was happening or chose to ignore it, said Rajeswar, adding the IB repeatedly recommended that the emergency be withdrawn. Even Indira was inclined to agree but her son opposed, he revealed. Elections were finally held in February-March 1977 after a third recommendation from the IB that the emergency be called off, he said.