WikiLeaks cables: Indira Gandhi said Sanjay small fry,he won’t be PM

Gandhi made sensational reference to her son whom she was purportedly grooming for PM's job.

Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi | Published: April 11, 2013 12:32 am

Fresh US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks have revealed that Indira Gandhi had said that Sanjay Gandhi was a ‘small fry’ and was not going to be prime minister or president; Charan Singh was the most malleable Opposition leader,R K Dhawan plants suspicion in Indira’s mind against specific Congress leaders and Jagjivan Ram was a man of few words.

Sanjay Gandhi is a ‘small fry’,not going to be PM

On December 27,1976,at the height of Emergency when Sanjay Gandhi was calling the shots in the government and the Congress,a US diplomatic cable quoted Prime Minister Indira Gandhi saying something unusual: “He is much too small a fry or person because he is not going to be the prime minister or the president. All he can be is a Congress worker. So I think the attack is definitely on me.”

Gandhi was addressing a political training seminar for Congress workers in Delhi and,according to the cable,”Prime Minister Gandhi on December 23 delivered a vigorous assault on the CPI for spreading baseless propaganda against her,her son and the Congress.”

On Sanjay,cable said,the PM stated that she did not know whether he would remain in politics and added: “In fact I think he never would have come into politics if there had not been that tremendous attack on him in Parliament even before the Emergency because basically he was not interested in any of these things.”

The US embassy’s cable commented that Indira’s “remarkable reference to Sanjay as a ‘small fry’ may be an “effort to allay fears about his growing role in national politics and to place him in a framework more acceptable to hostile elements in the Congress.”

Charan Singh ‘most malleable’ opposition leader,many see him as a ‘Trojan horse’

On March 8,1976,a US embassy cable described Charan Singh,one of the key Opposition leaders during the Emergency era,as “the most malleable. The cable reported the government’s announcement on March 7 that it had released Bharatiya Lok Dal (BLD) chairman Charan Singh who has been under detention since the inception of Emergency.

The cable noted,”Tactically,Charan Singh was the easiest of the Opposition politicians to release; he is not an MP,is a local rather than national politician; is not an ideologue; and may be the most malleable of the Opposition leaders. The release of (Piloo) Mody or Ashok Mehta would be more telling and riskier,particularly Mody who would be a formidable opposing voice in Parliament if pre-censorship remains removed.”

Another US embassy cable sent on May 14,1976,talked about non-communist opposition leaders. It said,”A number of Opposition leaders fear that BLD leader Charan Singh may have already negotiated his re-entry into the Congress and sees the new union as a ‘Trojan horse’ to desert at time that would benefit Congress-R the most.”

R K Dhawan is an object of fear,essentially opportunist

On August 5,1975,a US embassy cable gave a low-down on Dhawan,who was personal assistant to Indira Gandhi.

He is an object of some fear since he has occasionally fed or even created suspicions on the part of the prime minister about specific individuals. One source indignantly told an emboff (embassy official) of several occasions when he had difficulty in clearing himself of absolutely false rumours,which he was convinced the PM could only have picked up from Dhawan.”

The cable said,”We believe Dhawan is essentially a purveyor of instructions for the prime minister and more recently Sanjay Gandhi. We doubt that he plays a policy role except in strictly operational and personnel matters,although he is a middle-man in intrigues where he may serve as a conduit for views to the PM. We have no information about his personal views. His uncle is strongly anti-communist; Dhawan sounds to us essentially an opportunist.”

Jagjivan Ram,man of few words,effective in talks On December 16,1976,a US embassy cable on Farakka,border incidents and the prospects for Indo-Bangladesh relations” talked about Home Minister Jagjivan Ram. Quoting Foreign secretary Jagat Mehta,the US embassy cable said,“Mehta praised India delegation leader Jagjivan Ram for knowing his subject well and said that although Ram was a man of few words he was most effective in the negotiations. He was cautiously hopeful about future prospects.

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