Information and Broadcasting minister L K Advani categorically asserted in the Lok Sabha that the government “does not believe in any control of the press, latent or patent, crude or subtle”. In fact, the main effort of his ministry was to provide that the gross misuse and abuse of the mass media during the 19 months of Emergency was never repeated. Advani said one of the terms of reference of the proposed Press Commission would be whether it was necessary to enshrine freedom of the press as distinct from freedom of expression already guaranteed in the Constitution. The council will also consider whether the behaviour of the press during the Emergency was due to professional failure or institutional failure.
CPI Regrets Support
The Dange line of unrepentent support to the Emergency in the CPI has been defeated. The CPI spokesman, Indrajit Gupta, announced in Bhatinda that the party congress had approved the draft political review report after making only minor amendments. The draft admits that “our main mistake was in supporting the Emergency”. The approval of the report is a victory for the general secretary of the party, C Rajeswara Rao. Among the amendments overwhelmingly accepted by the party congress was that the CPI should have asked Indira Gandhi to resign as Prime Minister immediately after the Allahabad High Court judgment on June 2, 1975.
Five top leaders of the Janata Party — Morarji Desai, Charan Singh, Jagjivan Ram, Chandra Shekhar and Atal Bihari Vajpayee — will sit together to find ways to set the ruling party’s house in order. The meeting, the first of its kind since the Janata came to power, will be held over dinner to be hosted by the PM. This will be preceded by a meeting between Charan Singh and Chandra Shekhar and possible unity talks between the home minister and Jagjivan Ram.