'Indira Gandhi had strangulated democracy': Jitendra Awhad triggers row at anti-CAA rally in Maharashtra

Not new to giving controversial statements, MLA and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Jitendra Awhad has triggered a row which might change political equations within the Maha Vikas Aghadi government. On Wednesday, Jitendra Awhad accused former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi of “strangulating the democracy”.

"Indira Gandhi had also strangulated democracy, nobody was ready to speak against her. Then, students from Ahmedabad and Patna protested and the JP movement started leading to her defeat. This history will be repeated in Maharashtra&the country", Awhad said in a public meeting in Beed.

Students movement became the reason for India to unite against Indira Gandhi, which led to imposing Emergency in the country. Jayaprakash Narayan, also called Lok Nayak, had launched a mass movement against Indira Gandhi's government in 1974. Jailed during the Emergency, he defeated the Congress party in 1977 for the first time which led to the formation of the Janata Party government in the Centre.

The NCP leader's statement may draw an angry response from the Congress Party which is part of Maharashtra government with the NCP and the Shiv Sena.

Awhad had recently, on January 20, said that ancestors of people sitting on the throne in Delhi "were appeasing" Britishers at the time when Awhad's father, Satish Awhad was facing a death sentence for the sake of the country.

He made the remarks at a rally in Beed district of Maharashtra against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and in support of the stance of several opposition parties against the National Population Register (NPR). The opposition parties have accused the BJP-led coalition of trying to bring the National Register of Citizenship.

Awhad, who is Maharashtra Housing Minister, also said Muslims can tell where their grandfather was buried but Hindus may not be able to tell the place where the last rites of their ancestors were performed.

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