Former Union Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha on Tuesday called prevalent atmosphere in the country "far worse" than the period of Emergency, imposed by the then Congress government between 1975 and 1977.
Speaking to NDTV news channel, Sinha contended that the Emergency is too far back in history now to be made an issue and to capitalise on by the ruling BJP for the upcoming elections.
"Emergency as imposed and then lifted in this country some 43 years ago, the modern generation does not have any recollection of emergency. It is history for them.
"And more importantly, (then Prime Minister) Indira Gandhi was personally punished for imposing emergency in this country when she lost the 1977 election so badly. You can't revive that (debate on it) today... It is part of our history now," said the estranged Bharatiya Janata Party leader.
He said though the leaders of the opposition parties are not put behind bars now as they had been during the 21-month long Emergency period, what prevails now in the country is far worse.
"While nobody has been put behind bars as in 1975, there is still an all pervasive atmosphere of fear, people are scared, people are scared to talk. Even cabinet ministers are not spared. The situation is far worse than it was in the declared Emergency of Indira Gandhi," he said.
Even media, Sinha said, is in "direct line of fire" under the current government as a consequence of which "many senior honest journalists have lost their jobs".
"Today the situation is very bad. Media is giving a totally misleading picture... (It's) completely subdued and made to toe the line," he said.