Janata in Gujarat
Indira Gandhi was the prime minister and the country was inching towards Emergency. The big story was the formation of the “Janata front” of the non-Congress parties in Gujarat, barring the CPI, to contest the upcoming assembly election. A panel under the future Janata PM, Morarji Desai, was set up to screen candidates.
Jayaprakash Narayan, who led the fight against corruption and authoritarianism in government, told the media in Patna that only a people’s movement could effectively challenge the growth of authoritarian tendencies. “The only thing that has nonplussed Mrs Indira Gandhi is the people’s movement,” he said.
In a referendum on April 14, Sikkim voted for merger with India. Kuldip Nayar’s report said New Delhi refused to let the Chogyal, Palden Thandup Namgyal, leave Sikkim. It feared the last hereditary ruler, under house arrest since April 10, would go to world forums and malign India. The report mentions that China was believed to have offered the Chogyal “asylum” and his sister, Princess Pema Psedeyun Yapshi-Pheunkhang, was turned out of Sikkim House in Delhi.
War in Vietnam
The Vietnam war was nearing its end. The South Vietnamese parliament voted to allow interim president, Tran Van Huong, to step down and designate a new president to seek “peace with honour” with the National Liberation Front of communist North Vietnam. The outgoing president declared in parliament: “We have now been abandoned by the USA.”