Forty Years Ago, January 31, 1977: Janata Campaign

Forty Years Ago, January 31, 1977: Janata Campaign

Mammoth election rallies were held by the Janata Party in several places, including Delhi, Patna, Jaipur and Kanpur.

The Janata Party launched its nation-wide election campaign with its top leaders exhorting the people to exercise their franchise fearlessly and peacefully and to throw the Congress out of power. Mammoth rallies were held in several places, including Delhi, Patna, Jaipur and Kanpur. Jayaprakash Narayan and Janata Party leaders warned the electorate not to be misled by the Congress, which has chosen the path of dictatorship. They asked the people to vote Janata Party if they wanted democracy and the rule of law to be restored. In Delhi, well more than one lakh men and women braved the chilly evening and sat for three hours in the vast Ramlila Grounds to hear the leaders in pin-drop silence. This was the venue of the last rally on June 25, 1975 when non-communist leaders announced their decision to launch an agitation against the government a few hours before Emergency was proclaimed.

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JP’s Patna Rally

At a mammoth public meeting in Patna, Jayaprakash Narayan set to motion the poll campaign for the Janata Party. Hands shot up from the sea of humanity to symbolise acceptance of the pledge administered by JP that the people would consider no sacrifice too great to defend fundamental rights and civil liberties. JP said the ensuing election was extraordinary by any count. What mattered more than this or that party winning the election was the outcome of the battle
between “dictatorship and democracy’’.

Janata Leader Held

Karpoori Thakur, former chief minister of Bihar and a top leader of the BLD, now a constituent of the Janata Party, was arrested under MISA within two hours of his “coming to the surface’’ for the first time since the proclamation of Emergency. He was held while proceeding towards JP’s house after making a dramatic appearance at the public meeting addressed by JP to launch the poll campaign of the Janata Party.