Differences in the Janata Party seemed to be heading towards a flash point with Jagjivan Ram finding himself in a minority over the vital issue of rapprochement with the Lok Dal. While party president Chandra Shekhar said he favoured unity with the Lok Dal and the Congress to fight the Congress (I), Ram said such a move would be against morality. That Chandra Shekhar was holding advanced negotiations with Lok Dal leaders was evident when he met Chandrajit Yadav over lunch.
Atal On Ram
Atal Bihari Vajpayee said Jagjivan Ram was making excuses to leave the party. Apparently referring to the February 23 meeting called by Ram, he said: “Those who want to leave the Janata Party do not have to invent excuses for doing so.” Addressing a news conference in Lucknow, he said: “Such people should be frank enough to say that they have neither the strength nor determination, nor the time due to old age to fight the emergence of authoritarianism. There is no room for fence-sitters in the party.” Vajpayee said: “The choice is clear — they have either to join Mrs Gandhi’s camp and support Sanjay Gandhi in his bid to capture power or oppose the calculated bid to monopolise power in the hands of one family.
PM On Soviet Troops
Prime Minister Indira Gandhi said that she had taken up with the Soviet leaders the question of withdrawal of Soviet troops from Afghanistan. The Soviet position was that Russian troops would be pulled out of Afghanistan the moment Pakistan stopped training raiders and sending them into Afghan territory.
The US will not participate in the Moscow Olympics since there is no sign that the Soviets will meet its deadline to remove troops from Afghanistan, the US State department spokesman, Hodding Carter, said.
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