August 26, 1979, Forty Years Ago: President Vs Janatahttps://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/editorials/august-26-1979-forty-years-ago-president-vs-janata-5936248/

August 26, 1979, Forty Years Ago: President Vs Janata

A large number of Congressmen feel there should be a total change in the Congress leadership.

Frontpage of Sunday Express. (Archives)

The relations between the President and Janata Party, which has missed the opportunity to regain power because of Sanjiva Reddy’s decision to dissolve the Lok Sabha, continue to be strained. While the President has made it known that he cannot now consider the demand for the replacement of the caretaker government, the Janata president Chandra Shekhar, said that his party would take the issue to the people. The demand for replacement has also been made by Indira Gandhi’s Congress. Sanjiva Reddy apparently had explored the possibility of inducting an interim government before he dissolved the Lok Sabha, but his efforts floundered because of the opposition from Jagjivan Ram.

Crisis In Congress

A large number of Congressmen feel there should be a total change in the Congress leadership. Otherwise, the Congress will not be able to do well in the elections — the present leadership has failed miserably, they say. Unless the Congress projects a new and dynamic image, the party has no future. Some of them are going to demand change in the leadership in the AICC session in Bangalore next month if nothing happens before that. The leadership, especially the party president, has been under fire for quite some time. Even during the last phase of the unity talks the anti-unity section demanded the resignation of the Congress president.

Targeting newspapers

Former Haryana chief minister, Devi Lal, threatened to call for a boycott of newspapers and make a bonfire of copies if they persisted in criticising the prime minister, Charan Singh, and projecting Jagjivan Ram as the saviour of “Harijans”. Devi Lal, addressing a news conference in Chandigarh, attacked three Jalandhar language dailies. These dailies had not only been responsible for the creation of Pakistan, he asserted, their writings had also contributed to the reorganisation of Punjab which gave birth to Haryana.