February 25, 1977, Forty Years Ago: Jayaprakash Narayan on Corruption

Narayan reiterated the need for reducing expenses on elections and said that it should largely be borne by the government.

By: Editorial | Published:February 25, 2017 12:04 am

Jayaprakash Narayan lamented that there was no agency in the country like the Ombudsman in Sweden to inquire into corrupt practices and policies of the government. The prime minister’s attitude towards this matter was regrettable, he said. He clarified that the “lokayukt” he gave shape to before the proclamation of Emergency cannot on its own inquire into charges of corruption in the government without a certain amount of cooperation from the government. Narayan said the people had to be told that if they tried to sell their votes, they were in danger of selling their very destiny. He said it was the vigilance of the youth and the opposition parties that could effectively counter the abuse of money for buying votes. He reiterated the need for reducing expenses on elections and said that it should largely be borne by the government.

Janata To President

The Janata Party appealed to B.D. Jatti, acting president of India, to direct the government “to desist from use of public funds for promotion of party interests”. A letter to the acting president, Surendra Mohan, general secretary, Janata Party, noted that the chief commissioner said the misuse of public funds in election-eve concessions granted by the government did not come under his purview and that it was for the electorate to decide if there was any ulterior motive.

Indira Attacks RSS

Prime Minister Indira Gandhi chided the opposition for encouraging a new phenomenon by asking the people to get elected and then join another party, and said this would only harm democracy. At a meeting in Chindwara, Mrs Gandhi criticised the RSS and Jana Sangh. Those who did not keep their word with Sardar Patel in 1948 could not be trusted to keep their promises with the people. The RSS and Jana Sangh were adept in spreading lies and rumours, perhaps they had learnt it from Hitler, she said.

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