April 19, 1976, Forty Years Ago: Indira interviewhttps://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/april-19-1976-forty-years-ago-indira-interview-2759624/

April 19, 1976, Forty Years Ago: Indira interview

A view of the front page of The Indian Express, forty years ago.

A view of the front page of The Indian Express, forty years ago.

Indira interview

In an interview to a US publication, Prime Minister Indira Gandhi said there was no change in the basic philosophy of India. She said that, “We only wish to plug the loopholes and improve the functioning, specially of the legal system so that major economic and social programmes go ahead”. On being asked how strong the Indian state was, she said, “I can tell you that we are much stronger than we were five years before.” She added, “Outside they are always talking about Indian poverty, and it is true that we have poverty. We have more because we started on a much lower base, when we became independent.”

Poll rumours in UK

There was increased suspicion in London that Prime Minister James Callaghan may call an autumn general election. The ruling Labour party had not given any indication till sometime, but in the manner PM Callaghan had been playing his cards, it was becoming clear that he was preparing to announce a snap election before the expiry of his term.

Mao turmoil

The anti-right campaign in China resulted in a direct confrontation between Chairman Mao Zedong and former Vice Premier Deng Xiaoping, according to an editorial in People’s Daily. The front page editorial was broadcast over Radio Peking. It said Chairman Mao pointed out that Deng was behind “a letter of false accusations” against Mao. Meanwhile, leading member of the moderate faction in Peking, Yeh Jianying reportedly quit his post as defence minister to protest the purge of Deng.

The Union Commerce Ministry fixed the export target for 1976-77 at Rs 4,350 crore. Commerce Minister D.P. Chottopadhyaya said he was optimistic about the possibility of the reaching the export level of Rs 4,500 crore in the erstwhile financial year although he didn’t put the target as Rs 4500 crore.