Carter Is President
America elected Jimmy Carter, 52, as president, who promised to return “laughter to the United States and hope to the people”. It is the first time an incumbent president has been defeated since Herbert Hoover at the time of the Great Depression. Perhaps the defeat of Gerald Ford, America’s first president not elected by popular vote (he succeeded Richard Nixon who resigned) was also due mainly to the state of the economy. The victory of former Georgia governor also represented a repudiation of the amoral, if not immoral, policies Ford pursued in foreign policy on the advice of the secretary of state, Henry Kissinger. Democrats retained control of both houses of Congress and most of the governorships. Apart from the south which was able to elect one of its own to the highest office in the land for the first time since the civil war, Carter’s solid base in the cliff-hanger contest was black support. Senator Walter Mondale was elected as vice-president.
Lok Sabha Term
A bill seeking extension of the present Lok Sabha by another year was introduced in the house. The introduction was opposed by two members belonging to the CPM and the DMK. Union Law Minister H.R. Gokhale felt it would not be in the larger interests of the country to have general elections before the term of the house expires. This was on account of continued operations of the two proclamations of the Emergency and the fact that the conditions which led to the extension of the duration of the present house by one year still continued.
The government was drawing up a plan to ensure the availability of essential items like cereals, edible oil, sugar, pulses and standard cloth at fixed prices, Finance Minister C. Subramaniam told the Lok Sabha. He added that these commodities would be imported, if necessary, to meet the demand.