Odisha played key role in safeguarding democracy: Smriti Irani

Bhubaneswar: As voices of dissent grew harsher among all parties on the occasion of 43 years of Emergency declared in India by the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Union Textiles Minister Smriti Irani too targeted Congress and criticised such decision.

During her one-day visit to Odisha on Tuesday, Irani termed Emergency a ‘Black Day’ in the history of Indian democracy.

Besides, Irani also remembered the contributions of intellectuals, freedom fighters and leaders from Odisha for playing a crucial role in safe guarding democracy during the 1975 Emergency.

“I have come to pay tributes to 900 Satyagrahis and 300 MISA prisoners of Odisha for their sacrifices to protect democracy during the 1975 Emergency,” said Irani.

The Union Minister said that names like Harekrushna Mahatab, Biju Patnaik, Rabi Ray and other citizens are still not recorded in history but they fought hard for safeguarding democracy during such tough times.

“After 43 years of Emergency, people should remember it and it should be a day of pledge so that history is not repeated,” said Irani.

The Union Minister also took a dig at Odisha government for not implementing the flagship programme of the Center, Ayushman Bharat Yojna.

“The Centre under PM Narendra Modi has targeted to provide health coverage of Rs 5 lakh to nearly 10 crore poor families in the country. The PM has always appealed for cooperative federalism. I am hopeful that Odisha government will respond to the health needs of people of the State and walk the extra mile and diligently ensure that the health scheme is implemented at the grassroots,” the Union Minister added.