H C Singh

Defeat Of Congress And Victory Of Janta Party

Results of 1977 elections trickled from night of 20th March 1977. Peolple had gathered in large numbers, both of Congress and of newly formed Janta Party. Outside the Newspaper offices on Asaf Ali Road, New Delhi. It was quite a contrast to 26th June 1975 when emergency was declared and lights had been switched off in Asaf Ali Road, leaders of opposition were being arrested and not a single soul was to be seen on this very rood. Results of election were being posted on the boards outside the offices of Newspapers. Congress supporters were shocked and Janta supporters were jubilant when the news of defeat of Indira Gandhi from her home constituency, Roe Barelli was posted. There were loud slogans and crackers were fired to celebrate Indira’s defeat of their Prime Minister. Jubilations were more intense with dances, louder slogans and more crackers when news of Sanjay’s defeat came.

In the morning whole of Delhi, rather whole of India come to know of the defeat of mother and son, so there were jubilations and celebrations, people distributing sweets and shouting slogans like Bharat Mata Ki Jai, JANTA PARTY KI JAI. Emergency Murdabad dictatorship Murdabad.

In north India, particularly the Hindi belt congress was completely was washed out. Congress did not and could not win a single seat in Parliament from Up, Bihar, Rajasthan and MP. In other north India states congress victory was symbolic, winning one seat or so. Here are details of congress debacle in north India, in particular. In UP congress lost all the 84 seats and all the 54 seats in adjoining Bihar. In Rajasthan congress score was one seat out of 25, in MP also one seat out of 40. In south India performance of congress was as before because in the south of vindhya the excess of emergency, like compulsory sterilization of many and demolition of slums and ancient building like the area near Turk man gate, had not reached. In Andhra Pradesh congress performance was remarkable, it won 41 out of 42 seats, in Karnataka 26 out of 28, in Kerala 13 out of 20 and in Tamil Nadu 14 out of 39.

But overall congress won only 153 seats in Parliament out of 450 ie only one third. It also shows that despite the congress winning more seats in south, congress had got the support of only one third of India’s electorate or population. Major causes of defeat as explained earlier were compulsory sterilization and demolition of houses in lanes and streets inhabited by poor in Delhi mostly by Muslims in the area around Turk man gate of New Delhi. As Jagjivan Ram, a congress std wart belonging to scheduled caste had joined Janta Party, after resigning from congress where he had been holding high offices in congress party and Government, large number of SC and ST voted for Janta Party.

So the time came for Janta Party to form the government and elect a leader who will be Prime Minister of India after Indira Gandhi’s ouster. As usual there were a couple of candidates for the high office of PM. Supporters of Choudhary Charan Singh wanted him to be PM as they considered congress defeat in north India was mainly due to Charan Singh being a leader of Janta Party. Another, though comparatively silent, candidate was Jagjivan Ram who was a SC and was responsible for large number of SC/ST votes being polled for Janta Party. The most vociferous candidate once again was Morarji Desai who had tried t become PM instead of Lal Bahadur Shastri and even had contested and lost when he tried to be PM against Indira Gandhi after Shastri’s sudden demise in Toshkent. But it was left to grand old politicians of Janta Party viz Jayparkash Narain and Acharya JB Kirplani to decide. They decide in favour of Morarji Desai saying he had more experience as Chief Minister of Bombay as well as senior cabinet Minister.

Thus Desai became the PM and Charan Singh as per his wish became the powerful Home Minister. Atal Bihari Vajpayee of Jan Sangh who had been MP since 1957 became Minister for the first time a cabinet post he held. George Fernandes, a socialist leader who had once defeated S.K. Patil Bombay’s strong man and important leader of congress became Industries Minister.

As Jan Sangh was a rightist party opposed to communist ideology, its respected leader Vajpayee who had became Foreign Minister wanted understanding with USA and the west instead of indifference and even hostility because Jawahar Lal Nehru and Indira Gandhi even to an extent Shastri were pro USSR and anti American. Accordingly immediately after Janta Party’s victory and congress party’s defeat. New York Times wrote “that Congress attitude towards west and USA had varied from a self righteous edginess to a Chilliness bordering on hostility”. It further added the USA expected a ‘friendly attitude’ towards the United States with a noticeable cooling of feelings for the Soviet Union. American strategies felt that Janta victory “represented something of windfall for Washington”.

However Janta leaders and particularly the Janta Foreign Minister a very careful and calculating politician of more than two decades did not like to shift completely from support for and by Soviet Union to become American rally at the cost of Soviet and Chinese reaction and even hostility because USA had all through supported Pakistan against India. Thus PM Desai and Foreign Minister Vajpayee together visited Soviet Union to assure Moscow that India’s relations with USSR will stand. To pasify USA and consider Washington important for Janta Party and India, eminent Jurist Nani Palkhiwala was sent to Washington as India’s Ambassador. To reciprocate this gesture, American President Jimmy Carter visited India in January 1978.

After the allotment of portfolios, as per wishes of senior leaders like Charan Singh getting Home, Jagjivan Ram getting Defence, Vajpayee opting for External Affairs and Madhu Dandavote Railways, the struggle commenced between leaders of various parties and cabinet because ideologies of all the political parties forming Janta Party in a hurry were not only different but against each other. Charan Singh had rural bias, some cabinet minister like PM Desai and Madhu Davdavote and Jagjivan Ram had praise for Nehru and his ideology of importance of public sector, which others belonging to Jan Sangh pratsed American and Japanese systems of private enterprise. Socialists like Goerge Fernandes were opposed to foreign capital and wanted American multinational like Coca Cola and IBM to be ousted from Indian market and Fernandes succeeded in making both to close their projects in India.

As neither Desai had the prestiege and popularity like that of Pandit Nehru nor men like Charan Singh had the intelligence, courage and standing like that of Sardar Patel the strongest Home Minister India ever had, so differences leading to conflict of views started the moment the Janta Government came to power and started functioning. Janta Party’s only aim to defeat congress led by Indira and Sanjay who ruled in an autocratic manner, as this very Congress of Gandhiji and other national leaders of national and international fame had never thought of imposing emergency and ruling the country as dictatorship and imprisoning all opposition leaders without regard to their age, status and the good work they had done with declination. And that, too, without any charges or trials.

Under Janta Government fences with neighboring Pakistan and Bangladesh were corrected despite the wars and hostility since the creation of Pakistan and particularly after the war in East Pakistan in which Pakistan Army had crushing defeat and East Bengal preceded from Pakistan, of course with Indian Army’s help and became independent country as Bangladesh. India signed as agreement for sharing Ganga Waters which gave India 20,500 cubic feet of water in season to Bangladesh 34,500 cubic feet for which Bangladesh had aspired since long and was satisfied now under the Janta Government. Similarly to improve relations with Pakistan, Foreign Minister Vajpayee visited Pakistan where he unexpectedly charmed the people and even dictator General Zia-ull-Itaq who complimented Vajpayee whom he thought ‘a man reared in Jan Sangh would exhibit a fanatical hatred towards Muslims (quoted by Guha).

In summer of 1977, Pm Desai happened to meet Phizo, the Naga leader in London. Phizo was excited as never before a senior Minister or PM had met him. This changed his mind to a great extent and his party fought the assembly elections. Showing that Naga’s now had abandoned the idea of independence. Similarly elections were held in Kashmir in 1977 and Sheikh Abdullah as leader of his National Conference got 46 out of 75 seats though National Conference had won only 7 seat in Hindu dominated Jammu region. This made Sheikh Abdullah a legitimate Chief Minister, duly elected, in the first face and for general elections in J&K. This prompted the Sheikh to announce that people of Kashmir ‘have the same fundamental rights’ as the people of rest of India. This was a landmark statement from a veteran Kashmir leader in favour of ties with India.

In the Janta Party Government, there was much more emphasis on the improvement of agriculture as well as the poor peasants of rural areas. Charan Singh’s association with Janta Party and after his becoming Minister for agriculture. He emphasized on further implementation of Green Revolution ideas ideas so that there is substical increase in the production Wheat and Rice in particular as well as ‘White Revolution’ so that there is more milk and more prosperity and better health of people. It will be noteworthy that because of Charan Singh’s association with Janta Party, in 1977 Lok Sabha elections 36% of MP’s came from rural area in comparison to 22% in 1952. Jimmy Carter was received enthusiastically by leadership of Janta as well as people of India as Carter was first US President to visit India since President Eisenhover’s visit more than two decades back. To impress upon Indian Parliament and people he laid stress in the “community of our fundamental values” like freedom of Speech and freedom of Press. He also spoke about Martin Luther Kings Civil Rights struggle and non-violent attitude to the ideas and philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi. Accordingly Jimmy Carter’s visit and Speech had initiated India-USA closeness. A year later Vajpayee visited China, the highest ranking Indian ie India’s Foreign Minister, to visit China after 1962 border war between India and China.

Thus the tilt towards USA, in the policy of non-alignment, was corrected by Desai and Vajpayee. It was a significant achievement of Janta Party as Nehru and his daughter Indira had virtually autogonised USA and West for being too close and dependent on USSR. After significant change and success in moulding Foreign Policy, trouble started on two fronts viz caste privileges and privileges for Agricultured formers and laboures. Both these troubles affected the states more than the centre.

In Bihar where Karpoori Thakur, Janta Chief Minister dug out the report of a commission set up by congress in 1970 which had recommended that 26% of all posts in the administration be reserved for backward. The report remained untouched during emergency but Chief Minister Thakur decided to implement the recommendation. Immediately a storm broke out as Karpoori Thakur’s decision led to violent reactions and protests by upper castes. Rajput and Bhoomidars, leadinate storming of state government building and burning buses and trains. As backward classes under Janta Government, for the first time, had forty per cent MLA’s in state legislature they were unyielding. To aggravate the matter Morarji Desai appointed a commission headed by B P Mandal a Bihar politician (popularly known as Mandal Commission) to suggest whether reservations in the constitution – 15% for scheduled castes and 7.5% for scheduled tribes.

There was also another kind of caste conflict between, the backward classes and SC-ST’s. The backward classes mostly owned lands while the SC an d Harijans were labourers and farmers. The backwards in due course became as rich as the upper classes, while some Harijans, too, with education joined government service and had other positions in industry. As a result attacks on Hatijans by Bhoomidars continued under Janta government with greater intensity and regularity. For example in a decade when congress under Indira was in power the number incidents of atrocities towards Harijans and SC/ST like killing, molestation of Harijan women etc., were 40,000 while between April 77 when Janta came to power and September 78 such cases were reported to be 7775 only in North India ie under congress rule such incidents were roughly 4000 a year while under Janta rule more than 12,000 a year (‘Economic and Political Weekly’ 10 December 1977 and Pravin Sheth ‘In the country side’ November 79). The worst incident that accured was in a Bihar Village Belchi where on 25 May 77 nine Harijans were burnt to death.

Indira Gandhi who was being harassed, arrested and insulted got the opportunity to blame the Janta rule as the worst in Bihar since independence. She visited Belchi and addressed the Harjans at number of places. This improved her image as the friend of Harjans, as neither Desai nor any of his senior cabinet minister had visited Belchi to pacify the Harjans.

Janta image got further tarnished as in October 77, Charan Singh decided to arrest Indira Gandhi. On the basis of CBI report of corruption charges against her. Accordingly Police visited Indira Gandhi’s house and arrested her. While she was being taken to Haryana to be lodged in a jail away from Delhi. At a railway crossing Indira got out of the van and sat on a culvert when her lawyer noted there was no mention in the warrant of arrest to take her outside Delhi. So she was released then and there. This bungling spoiled the image of Janta Government further.

Break up of Janta Government started after a year or so because Charan Singh’s main aim of joining Janta Party was to become Prime Minister whenever the opportunity arose. Though he was instrumental in getting Indira Gandhi arrested yet when the opportunity came he dumped Morarji Desai and Janta Party with the help of Indira Gandhi though it looked very strange and unthinkable. It also suited Indira to defame and destroy Janta Government before the completion of 5 year team. As Charan Singh was not prepared to reconcile with Desai as PM he got the Janta Government defeat in Parliament with the support of Indira Gandhi’s congress. So Charan Singh broke unity of Janta Party and became PM after dethroning Morarji Desai and destroying Janta Party. As Indira was equally clever and even more determined to end the Janta Party rule, she allowed Charan Singh to be PM only for a fortnight and thereafter started working for Charan Singh defeat just as Indira had helped Charan Singh to defeat Desai and his Janta Government.

During the last week of July 79 Charan Singh was sworn in a PM. He hoped he would continue at least for a year, but a month later Indira Congress withdrew the support and informed the President . The President tried for an alternative government but no faction in Janta neither Jan Sangh nor socialist were prepared to support Charan Singh as PM. Accordingly after a month President decided that mid-term poll was necessary under such circumstances. Election Commission took a couple of months to hold elections and declare results, So Charan Singh remained PM for 3 more months. Before Charan Singh relinguished the office of PM. 44th amendment of the constitution was passed with the support of both Desai and Indira Gandhi nullifying the emergency amendments to the constitution. Thus restoring the pre-emergency constitution.

Though Janta Government remained for a short time or had many examplry achievements to its credit. Censorship of Press was undone. This led to investigative journalism which in turn influenced the government as well as the people. As a result more than double the number of people started reading newspapers and magazines in English as well as in regional languages.

August 28, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Declaration of Emergency June 75

Indira Gandhi declared emergency in the night of June 25-26-1975. There were individual cases of protests especially by the students of Delhi University for a couple of months as in an obituary notice in The Times of India, ‘death of Mrs Democracy wife of Mr Freedom’. But by and large the people took it casually. No political party except the Akali Dal took up the challenge. ‘According to Amnesty International,1,40,000 persons were detained without trial during emergency and of them 60,000 were Sikhs.’ (quoted from Inder Malhotra ‘Indira Gandhi a Personal and Political Biography’ (London 1989) p 178) As Akali agitation was going with greater intensity despite MISA and other laws to punish the agitators, Indira sent emissaries Amrinder Singh and Bhai Ashok Singh Bagrian. But they failed in getting Akalis to withdraw agitation even during a deal including a formation of a coalition government in Punjab with Akalis ( from Mark Tully and Satish Jacob , Amritsar Mrs Gandhi’s lost Battle London 1985) Because of failure of compromise due to effort of Amrinder Singh and other Mrs Gandhi took up, in revenge, to inflict injury to Sikhs and Punjab. Firstly, as Sangat Singh says in his book The Sikhs in History, she came up with award in March 25 1976 allocating the waters and Hydal Power of the punjab rivers under section 78 of Punjab Reorganization Act of 1966 to Rajasthan, Haryana, Delhi and Punjab. Indira now used the discretion with malice and vengeance to award 75% of waters to neighbouring non-riparian states to create in them vested interest to the deteriment of legal rights of Punjab. Secondly, the Defence Ministry for the first time issued orders for recruitment in the armed forces based on the quotas to provinces on the basis of population. This was designed to reduce the intake and content of the Sikhs in armed forces to just two percent.

The Sikhs were asked to pay a very heavy price for their uprightness and standing up to the dictatorial perceptions of Indira Gandhi.

Even a non-political princess like Gayatri Devi of Jaipur was not spared.

As explained before Indira Gandhi got the President to sign the proclamation of Emergency because Supreme Court in its interim order had disallowed her to vote in Parliament though she could attend Parliament till final order of Supreme Court. It is thus evident that the Emergency was proclaimed , so that she could continue PM without waiting for the decision of S.C which could go either way. The moment this historic proclamation was singed by the President, Indira Gandhi became bold and ordered switching off power supply to all News Papers so that there was no issue in the morning with any editorial or comments on the issue of Emergency. On the morning of 26th June she addressed the nation on AIR trying to justify the issue of Proclamation of Emergency. Here are some extracts from her speech:-

The President has proclaimed the emergency. This is nothing to panic about. I am sure you all are conscious of deep and widespread conspiracy, which has been ever since I began to introduce certain progressive measures of benefit to the Common man and Woman of India… Certain persons have gone to the length of muting our armed faces to mutiny and our police to rebel…..The forces of disintegration are in full play and Communal passion’s are being aroused threatening our, unity…..This is not a personal matter. It is not important whether remain Prime Minister or not…….. May I appeal for your continued cooperation and trust in the days ahead.

In the first session of Parliament on July 23 after Emergency few opposition leaders who were not yet arrested, protested vehemently on the imposition of Emergency just to allow Indira Gandhi to continue as PM despite SC verdict against her. Shri A K Gopalan the seasoned CPM leader said that large scale arrest of men and women since imposition of Emergency had reduced Parliament to a farce and object of contempt “ But CPI’s Inderjit Gupta supported Emergency and went so for as to say that Jayaparkash Narain through agitation of over one year wanted to seize power in many states”.

On the other hand a Jan Sangh MP openly accused Indira Gandhi of betraying the motherland for the sake of personal ends’. Thereafter the opposition MP’s either bycotted the parliament or were arrested or sent to jail. In the first three months of Emergency it is reported that 80,000 people had been put behind bar, both men and women.

Besides satyagraha by followers of JP who had been arrested on the very first day of Emergency, another leader Manibehn Patel, daughter of Sardar Patel started Satyagraha in Ahmadabad, she and her followers raising slogans in Dandi, famous for Gandhi Ji’s salt Satyagraha known as Dandi March, “Remove Emergency” and release all political prisoners. Even Sardar Patel’s daughter was not spared. She was arrested but the next day a judge ordered her release. Being Sardar Patel’s daughter she continued with the march to the sea with handful of policemen in plainclothes because all her supporters in the precession had been either arrested or beaten by police.

There were intellectuals and men of letters who were upset because of composition of Emergency. Highly respected Kanada novelist Shivranjan Karnath who had joined freedom movement in 20’s under Gandhiji inspiration and was awarded Padma Bhushan, returned the award. Similarly a Hindi novelist Phaneshwaranath RENU returned the award of Padmashri. These intellectuals were inspired by Rabindera Nath Tagore, who had relinquished his Knighthood in protest against Jallianwala Bagh measure by the British Government. Of all the prominent leaders only J.B Kirplani was not arrested. Kirplani had joined independence movement in 1917, many years before Jawahar Lal Nehru joined. He had been Congress President at the time of independence—was not arrested despite his fiery speech on Gandhi ji birthday at Gandhi Ji’s Smadhi Rajghat on 2nd Oct 1975. Kuldeep Nayyar in his book. The Judgment writes that on 2nd oct JB Kirplani, the 85 year old Gandhite was also one of the protesters. “He was first arrested but then released in Kerala, posters even in remote villages appeared to urge the people not to be cowards in front of injustice and tyranny. In April 76 Kirplani asked the government to publish the names of those political leaders who have been arrested during Emergency. He regretted and even complained that why he did not have the ‘privilege’ of being arrested along with JP Desai and other leaders.

After six weeks of Emergency Sanjay Gandhi, Indira’s son became virtual Deputy P M with almost exclusive powers . Even his mother the PM started referring all congress leaders and Ministers to consult Sanjay. So from that day Sanjay’s words or orders became law. None could dare oppose him or even suggest an alternative or give advice or opinion. In his first long interview after Emergency he said that his mother always consulted and even took his advice. He advocated free enterprise in place of socialist pattern or state ownership, so that his Maruti car will not be behind Fiat and Ambassador. This made fundamental change in the policy of the Government during Emergency.

With proclamation of emergency India, under Indira Gandhi and her son Sanjay Gandhi moved towards dictatorship. Many journalists were arrested for instance Malkani of Motherland Delhi and Jagat Narain of Hind Samachar of Jullundur. On 29th June a meeting of journalists and editors was held at Press Club of India that passed a resolution to protest against the imposition of Press Censorship and urged the Indira Govt to lift the ban and release the journalists that have been arrested.

Kuldeep Nayyar in his book ‘The Judgement’ has quoted from Washington Post Correspondent who was banished from India, Lewis M Sinon, a very infecting para in “Sanjay Gandhi and his Mother” which is reproduced below:

“Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, distrustful of even her closest cabinet colleagues at this time of grave crisis for India, is turning to her contraversial younger son, Sanjay, for help in making major decisions. She is scared to death of him”.

That is the stuff of which Sanjay Gandhi was made of, with no respect or even regard for elders including Cabinet Ministers and high officials and even his mother, who was Prime Minister of India and had imposed on India for the first time and last time to date Emergency so as to remain in power come what way. But she willingly handed over all powers of PM to Sanjay as will be seen from the para quoted from Kuldeep Nayyars Book.

During first couple of months of Emergency 60,000 people had been arrested including Rajmata Gayatri Devi of Jaipur and Rajmata of Gwalior and sent to Tihar Jail to stay with common “criminals and prostitutes like living in a bazaar” said Gayatri Devi, one of the most beautiful, sophisticated princess and graceful mother.

From 9th July, Akali’s in Punjab launched a morcha in Punjab against Emergency and offer arrests. “Roughly 45000 Sikhs courted arrests” including Akali top leadership including Parkash Singh Balal. Akali Chief Minister of Punjab and Gurcharan Singh Tohra, SGPC President.

Even prominent Gandhitis like Bhim Sen Sochar, who was a Minister in undivided Punjab before partition and was thereafter Chief Minister of India and Punjab and even was Governor, was arrested for demanding abrogation of Press Censorship and demanding freedom and dignity of individual belonging to one party or another or even not being in active politics.

While R.S.S. had been banned, Eminent opposition leaders like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, L K Advani, S N Mishra of congress (O) and Madhu Dandwate, a socialist, were in jail in Karnatka, Shanti Bhushan an eminent advocate (who later become Law Minister) took up their case in the High Court at Bangalore saying “ We are challenging the entire emergency and the measures that the government has imposed and how they were part of what Mrs Gandhi called ‘the gravely threatening conspiracy’ . Dedicated and fearless lawyers had filed thousands of writs for release of detenues or for improving their living conditions as Princess Gayatri Devi who fell ill in Tihar Jail had said they were living in the ‘bazaar’ of ‘prostitutes’.

Other eminent lawyers like V M Terakunde, former judge of Bombay High Court, Minoo Masani Soli, Sorabjee fought gratis the cases of many detenues. Former justice of a Supreme Court of India M C Chagla said almost all or majority of people in jails thought Indira (about one lakh), do not know ‘ why they are in jail and so they cannot defend themselves’ unless they know the charges against them. But neither Indira nor her son Sanjay had thought or had time for these legal matters. They were busy consolidating their power and ruling the country as a dictatorship like that of Hitler in Germany or Stalin in USSR.

With most of the opposition MP’s locked in jails, a series of constitutional amendments were passed by the Parliament (belonging to congress). The 38th Amendment passed on July 22, 1975 barred judicial review of the emergency. Only two weeks after 39th amendment outlined that election of Prime Minister could not be challenged in any court, including Supreme Court.

To gag the process constitutionally, the Press council an independent watchdog body was abolished. A law ‘granting immunity to journalists covering Parliament was revoked and as many as 253 journalists were placed under arrest’ including Kuldeep Nayyar of Indian Express and K.R Sunder Rajan of Times of India.

J P was a great Selfless Social worker and honest leader of India. He was sometimes socialist in his youth but ultimately joined Gandhiji’s non-violent independence movement. He was dedicated to Sarvodya and even after independence did not or declined any political status or office of importance in Congress Party or Congress Government. It is irony of fate of JP and India that such a social worker of such eminence was put behind bars by Indira Gandhi during Emergency. It was negation of not only our constitution but all that for which Gandhiji, Indira’s father Jawahar Lal Nehru and leaders like Dr Rajendra Parsad, Sardar Patel and Dr B R Ambedkar stood and fought throughout their lives.

As stated earlier J P was jailed along with other political leaders immediately after declaration of emergency. While in jail, in November 75, JP’s health suddenly deteriorated because of filthy conditions of over crowded jail and unpalatable food . It created panic in Indira – Sanjay dictatorship and also in the Congress Party fearing if JP died in jail hell will break out for the Government and Congress Party. Accordingly J P was at once shifted to Jaslok Hospital in Bombay to provide him best possible treatment to save his life as well as the life of government.

Sanjay Gandhi had become virtual or effective PM as Indira delegated all powers to her younger son, directed all Ministers and senior officers to consult Sanjay or in fact take orders from him. Sanjay and his views and actions were given wide publicity on state controlled Radio and Media as will be noticed from following:

‘ In a single year 192 news items were broadcast about Sanjay Gandhi from the Delhi Station of AIR. In the same period Doordarshan telecast 26 items on Sanjay’s activities. When he made a 24 hour trip to Andhra Pradesh, the Film Division shot a full-length documentary called ‘A day to remember with commentary in their languages’.

Because of his extra constitutional powers Sanjay Gandhi had his own coterie of which Jagmohan was the key member, other members of this coterie were Navin Chawla who was then secretory to the Governor of Delhi and senior Police officer P.S. Bhinder. Among the ladies who were members of this unlawful coterie were Ambika Soni and Ruksana Sultana. Every morning this coterie met in Sanjay’s office to report on how and what they had implemented on previous days orders of Sanjay and to take fresh instructions and orders for the day. R.K Dhawan Indira’s steno was the link between PM’s office and Sanjay’s ‘Darbar’.

Mission to clean up Delhi convened with Jagmohan as in charge of this enterprise which was fraught with dangers. Demolition started on 13th April 1976, when a bulldozer moved into unauthorized area near Turk man Gate demolishing some slums inhabited by forty poor families, A few days later bulldozer moved to the ground some antique structures in Turk man Gate area. Many people protested but were helpless. For couple of days there was pause but demolition started again with bulldozers under direct instructions of jagmohan who was DDA’s Vice Chairman or head. As hundreds of houses were demolished in the narrow streets of Turk-man Gate area affected, as inevitable, people stoned the Police which is relation lathi charged and then spoadic fire killing a number of protectors between “10 to 200” as exact number could not be ascertained because curfew was imposed in the Turk-man Gate area.

Meanwhile another problem cropped up as Sanjay was keen to control India’s growing population,he authorized sterilization. This,too, was carried to unforeseen limits and frenzy and protests. As it was mostly the Muslim inhabited area of old Delhi’s Turk-man Gate, to cool down the tempers and rebellions protests Sheikh Abdullah was called. He visited the congested area where shooting had taken place and was very much moved. He protested to Indira Gandhi saying that the whole trouble began when young, old and even in valid were dragged off to the sterilization camps”. Even compulsory sterilization was thereafter imposed in the villages around Delhi. Simultaneously protests continued in Delhi and neighboring UP. Worst incident took place in Muzzafer Nagar where to curb the violent protests “Police opened fire in which fifty people died”.

This incident moved even the PM who admitted the excesses in sterilization campaign in the Parliament. From here the decline of the popularity of Congress, Sanjay and Indira commenced. To stem the tide of protests and firing, Indira Gandhi commented on 18th January 1977 that Parliament would be dissolved and fresh elections will be held. Infact Indira, because of emergency, could extend Parliament from year to year but she took the decision without consulting anyone, not even Sanjay. She broadcast the decision to hold general elections in states and for Parliament. This announcement led to release of all Political prisoner from jails all over India. Speak Congress leadership even was surprised.

Though J P was old and infirm as he was on many occasions on dialysis. Yet between February 25 and March 5 “ he spoke at Patna, Calcutta, Bombay, Chandigarh, Hyderabad, Indore, Pune and Ratlam. Everywhere he warned the audience that this is the last free elections if the congress is voted back to power then nineteen months of tyranny shall become nineteen years of terror”. In her speeches Indira Gandhi spoke as usual about the conspiracy against her and that emergency ‘was necessary at that time’.

In northern India there was a sort of referendum against ‘Compulsory Sterilization’ and forced vasectomies. In many meetings voters asked the congress speakers or candidates to show their own sterilization certificates. Often there were slogan’s against Sanjay Gandhi. There were hectic campaigns in all states against Sanjay, Indira and Congress. Even the Imam of Delhi’s Jama Masjid asked the Muslims not to vote for Congress. Jana Sangh and Akali Dal were vociferous against congress of Indira and Sanjay. To ensure defeat of Congress all opposition had united under one party ie Janta Party which constituted of Jana Sangh, Bhartiya Lok Dal of Charan Singh, socialist Party and Morarji Desai’s Congress (o). Even Jagjiwan Ram took the courage to resign from Indira’s cabinet and join the newly formed Janta Party. This brought vast number of backward classes to the fold of Janta Party as hitherto they had been supporting Congress of Mahatma Gandhi.

On the 20th March election results came as a shock to Indira and Sanjay as both mother and son were defeated. In UP in particular congress could not win even one seat out of 84. It was Congress debacle.

August 28, 2009 Posted by | India, Indian History, Political Commentary | , , , | Leave a comment

Judgment To Declaration Of Emergency

In 1971 General Elections, though Indira Gandhi had won from Rae Barely Constituency, socialist leader Raj Narain who disliked Indira Gandhi from the day she became PM, filed a petition in Allahabad High Court challenging Indira Gandhi’s election on the basis of corrupt practices she and , her party indulged during her election campaign by spending more money on her election than constitutionally allowed and also by using state machinery and state officials for her election campaign. For almost 4 years the case dragged on as both the sides through their advocates went on arguing before Justice Jag Mohan Lal Sinha.

It was only in March 1975 that India’s only Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi appeared in the Allahabad High Court and that too stood in the witness box, for almost 5 hours. It was an unprecedented ordeal for a person who was P.M. And that too the first lady PM of India.

In the meantime, Morarji Desai who had earlier contested against Indira Gandhi for the post of PM and had lost, had gone on fast in protest for continuation of President’s Rule. Indira Gandhi had already relented and had ordered fresh Elections which were held. While the votes were being Counted, justice Sinha, read out the Judgement in the case, field by Raj Narain in 1971. Justice Sinha though acquitted the PM on twelve charges, but she was found guilty of two charges viz that UP Government constructed high rostrum to allow her to address her election meetings from a dominating position and second that her election agent Yashpal Kapur was still in government employment at the time the campaign began. By the Judgement her election to Parliament was rendered null and valid. However the justice allowed Mrs Gandhi a stay for twenty days on the order, to allow an appeal in the Supreme Court.

Mrs Gandhi was upset by such a harsh judgment by a judge from Allahabad her Home Town where her father and grand father, in particular, had practised. Another disheartening event of those days was that Congress was losing in Gujarat which it had ruled Since 1951, the first election. Both JP and Desai waited for this day to condemn her and say that it would be ‘shameful’ of Indira Gandhi to continue as PM after such a verdict by the High Court which came after 3 years of arguments and counterarguments by lawyers of Indira Gandhi and Raj Narain.

During these 20 days Indira Gandhi’s yes-men like Bansi Lal, Haryana Chief Minister and Dev Kant Baroha Congress President and others brought thousands of slogan shouting by the transport arranged by these leaders at Indira Gandhi’s House where they even burnt effigy of justice Sinha. Indira Gandhi used to come out for a while and say a few words about conspiracy of her opponents in India and even Foreign powers to get rid of her as she was the only leader who could save India and Indian Democracy.

But eminent jurists like M.C. Chagla a renowned legal luminary who was once a Cabinet Minister in Indira Gandhi’s Government felt that Indira Gandhi was morally and constitutionally bound to step down from Prime Ministership to set a good example. But just a couple of days before the Supreme Court was to hear her appeal and give its decision, on 20 th June. Indira Gandhi chose to address a huge rally at Boat Club near Central Secretariat said among other things that the opposition wanted to eliminate her physically. It showed that she had made up her mind to stick to Prime Ministership come what may.

On 23rd June S.C. Granted constitutional stay of High Court judgment that she could attend Parliament till the final judgment of Sc but could not vote. Besides, Bansi Lal and S S Ray of West Bengal and many leaders of Congress Party and Congress Government, Sanjay Gandhi Indira’s elder son suggested or advised and even vehmently said that she should not resign, whatever the judgment of the Supreme Court. As all these Congress leaders had read Indira’s mind. On midnight of june S S Ray brought the proclamation of Emergency to Indira Gandhi which she approved willingly as she had been waiting for it since Supreme Courts interim order. She sent it to President at midnight 25th june for his signatures, who being a pliable President signed. So state of Emergency first time in Free India’s constitutional History was declared. Prominent leaders opposed to Indira Gandhi like JP and Muedji Desai and many others in Delhi and elsewhere were woken up and taken to jail. That might of Emergency 25th-26th all the power to the offices of News Papers and Press was switched off and simultaneously Police Force was deployed to arrest all the prominent leaders of opposition in Delhi before 6 AM. Thus 26th June is a black day for Indian Democracy and Indian Constitution.

Glaring Undemocratic Act by Congress Under Indira Gandhi

During 1972 elections congress won in 13 states including Bihar MP and Maharashtra. However in West Bengal Congress used all undemocratic means to come to power “mixture of terror intimidation and fraud. Gangs of hooligans stuffed ballot boxes with the police idly looking on. There was mass scale rigging in Calcutta – goondas paid by the Congress told voters assembled outside polling stations that they might as well go home, since they had already cast all the registered votes” (Quoted by Guha from eye witness account)

August 28, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment