40 years ago, India was pushed to a dictatorship. Civil liberties were suspended and every dissent in any form was crushed.
A widespread mass movement was organized against it and people protested wherever they could - explicitly or while they were underground. More than a lakh were imprisoned including all political opponents of Indira Gandhi.
Today is the 40th anniversary of that black day - a milestone event on the timeline of The Emergency in India.
But while remembering the day and the 'excesses' that it brought, we also need to think that it didn't reflect comprehensively in the electoral outcomes of 1977 and was totally overturned in 1980.
Why I say the reaction was not comprehensive in 1977 is based on the fact that Congress still got 154 of the 542 Lok Sabha seats and 34.52% votes. The Janata Party alliance, which fought 1977 polls on the Bhartiya Lok Dal (BLD) symbol, got 295 seats and 41.32% votes.
Five national parties, CPI, CPM, NCO, BLD and INC, in 1977 polls got 84.67% of votes together while state parties could get just 8.80% votes. Of this 84.67%, Congress and the BLD together got 75.84% votes.
So, in spite of all the protests and negative words against Indira Gandhi, Congress (or her Congress) remained the major political force in India. In fact, Congress did well in South Indian states. It won 41 seats of 42 in Andhra Pradesh, 26 of 28 in Karnataka, 11 of 20 in Kerala (its alliance partner CPI won another four in the state) and 14 of 39 in Tamil Nadu while its alliance partner Anna Dramuk won 17 seats taking the state tally to 31. Congress also did well in Assam and was a major opposition force in Gujarat and Maharashtra.
On the other side, the BLD's good show was due to the alliance sweeping Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and its further good show in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Haryana and Gujarat. In states like West Bengal, Punjab and Maharashtra, its alliance partners did well taking the overall Janata Party alliance numbers higher.
So, political (and social) opposition of Congress in the first election after The Emergency, that was called by Indira Gandhi, was not uniform across India. And it was led by a loosely connected political alliance that became its undoing in the next three years giving Congress a chance to make electoral comeback.
And Indira Gandhi made a grand comeback in 1980, winning 353 of 529 seats with 42.69% vote share. Janata Party was reduced to a stature of a distant runner-up with 18/97% votes.
Why it happened so?