Forty Years Ago: July 23, 1979https://indianexpress.com/article/opinion/editorials/forty-years-ago-july-23-1979-5842961/

Forty Years Ago: July 23, 1979

The caretaker prime minister, Morarji Desai, remains leader of the Janata Party in Parliament. This became clear today after Jagjivan Ram gave up his pursuit of the leadership.

Charan Singh has also written to the President that he has the requisite support and the Congress-Janata (S) alliance can face the Lok Sabha.

Ram Backs Out

Deputy Prime Minister Jagjivan Ram has made it clear that he would ‘‘not come in the way” of Morarji Desai forming a new government. “Morarji Desai is the leader of the Janata Party and there is nothing to prevent him from forming a Janata government,” he told reporters. A relaxed Jagjivan Ram met newsmen at his house after having day-long discussions with MPs and party leaders and attending a brief meeting of the Janata Parliamentary Party executive at Desai’s official residence. Earlier, Jagjivan Ram and Desai had telephonic talks. It emerged from Jagjivan Ram’s observations that he is reconciled to Desai trying to form the government and his taking the number two position. A section of the party, notably some Jana Sangh and Scheduled Caste members of the Lok Sabha, had challenged Desai’s right to continue as leader.

Morarji’s Claim

The caretaker prime minister, Morarji Desai, remains leader of the Janata Party in Parliament. This became clear today after Jagjivan Ram gave up his pursuit of the leadership. Having warded off the challenge from within his party, Desai is now to convince the President that he — and not Charan Singh, leader of the Janata (S) — can form a stable government. Desai staked his claim to form another government soon after he resigned from the prime ministership last Sunday. Charan Singh has also written to the President that he has the requisite support and the Congress-Janata (S) alliance can face the Lok Sabha.

Call Charan First

S N Mishra, Janata (S) leader, said President N Sanjeeva Reddy, “has a duty to call upon Charan Singh to explore the possibility of forming a government at the Centre”. Addressing journalists in Delhi, he maintained that “by no stretch of imagination or logic” could Charan Singh be “sidetracked or put behind anyone else” in this matter.