|NEW DELHI , MAY 4|
Even as Lok Sabha elections are underway, a booklet by Prasar Bharati chairman A Surya Prakash claims to “expose” the Congress’s “fascist tendencies”.
The 56-page booklet — Fascist Tendencies in the Congress Party published by Prabhat Prakashan — talks of the “reality” of the Congress party in three chapters.
Surya Prakash denied it had anything to do with the elections as it was released in December, much before the announcement of the polls. He, however, defended his “individual freedom” to express his views which, he said, were known to everyone as he had been a “vehement critic of Emergency and violation of fundamental rights”.
The Lok Sabha elections were announced on March 10.
The booklet talks about an incident in 1982 in which former Congress leader and former President Giani Zail Singh — then Home Minister — was “singing praises of Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini” in a speech in Lok Sabha, which were expunged by the presiding officer and later withdrawn by Singh himself. As a journalist with The Indian Express, Surya Prakash had reported about the incident that took place on March 24, despite the then Deputy Speaker’s move to expunge them.
“Neither Indira Gandhi, nor anyone took umbrage at the Home Minister’s fascination for Hitler and Mussolini. Instead, just two months after the incident, Indira Gandhi chose Zail Singh as the candidate for the office of President of India,” Surya Prakash writes.
In his introduction to the booklet, Surya Prakash claims that Congress leader Sonia Gandhi’s father Stefano Maino was an “ardent admirer and supporter” of Mussolini and that he had “fought alongside Hitler’s Wehrmacht on the Russian front in World War II” to prove “ideological compatibility between Indira Gandhi and her daughter-in-law”.
He concludes the booklet by saying that he wrote it for millennials, who “may find it difficult to comprehend that the Congress could have foisted dictatorship on the country”.
Asked if he, being chairman of the autonomous Prasar Bharti, could write such a booklet, Surya Prakash said: “As the public broadcaster, it is my duty to see that every party gets equal treatment… But as an individual writer and a columnist, I have freedom to express my views.”
He said he had earlier launched a campaign against Congress governments naming “every scheme after the names of Nehru Gandhi family”. He said: “I had lodged a complaint with the EC in 1999. I have very strong views regarding the violation of the democratic tradition. I have authored the book The Emergency: Indian Democracy’s Darkest Hour.”