Prime Minister Morarji Desai issued a stern warning to Indira Gandhi that the government would not put up with her attempts to whip up tension. “Let no one think that this government is weak,” Desai said to applause at a massive gathering of people at Ukai, near Surat. Desai accused Mrs Gandhi of adopting devious means to regain power but said all her attempts would end in frustration. Far from apologising to people for depriving them of basic freedoms and unleashing atrocities on them during her regime, she had now turned back to accuse the present government of the same things, he said. “We are not the one who believe that the Opposition has no right to aspire to achieve power, but the devious means she is adopting are sure to shatter her dream,” she said.
Sri Lanka and Pakistan are understood to have taken strong exception to the reported statement of Mrs Indira Gandhi that there was a foreign hand in the changes in governments that took place in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. A “VIP” delegate from Sri Lanka reportedly conveyed his government’s annoyance at Mrs Gandhi’s remarks when he met the External Affairs Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He is understood to said that Mrs Gandhi was free to say anything about India but she has no business to cast aspersions on the patriotism and political sagacity of people of Sri Lanka. A delegation from Pakistan conveyed similar strong resentment. Both of them described Mrs Gandhi’s allegations as “an interference in their internal affairs”.
Indira Gandhi today declined to contest the Lok Sabha by-election from Faridkot constituency of Punjab. She was urged to contest by Surinder Singh Kuku, vice president of the dissolved Youth Congress, The Faridkot seat fell vacant after the resignation of Parkash Singh Badal, who assumed the Punjab chiefministership.