Congress leaders opposed to Indira Gandhi’s attempt to control the affairs of the party seem to be rallying around the former West Bengal Chief Minister Siddhartha Shankar Ray, who jumped into the contest for Congress presidentship. He will contest against former home minister, K. Brahmanand Reddy, whom Mrs Gandhi’s group is backing, or anyone else she may ultimately choose to put up for the top party post. A meeting took place between Ray and Mrs Gandhi at 1, Safdarjung Road, but they failed to find common ground. Ray is believed to have asked Mrs Gandhi how the Congress could project a new image by having Reddy as its chief since he as home minister was responsible for he had been associated with the execution of Emergency policies. Reddy also appears to have attacked Sanjay Gandhi’s role while Mrs Gandhi defended her son.
Battle For The AICC
A determined move is likely to be made at the AICC session opening on May 5 in Delhi to wrest control of the Congress from Mrs Gandhi and her henchmen. Though Mrs Gandhi has said that she is staying away from active politics for the present and will not be at the AICC session, many Congressmen see her hand in the manoeuvres to prevent a full-scale inquest on major abuses that crept into the working of the party under her leadership. There is wide recognition in these circles that the first condition for the rehabilitation of the Congress is the restoration of inner-party democracy.
Team For The US
A group of prominent non-officials, among them, Justice K.S. Hegde, former deputy speaker of the Lok Sabha, G.G. Swell, journalist B.G. Verghese, J.D. Sethi, and Rajini Kothari, will be shortly going to the US to explain to intellectual audiences there the significance of the recent political changes in India.