Indira Gandhi intends to have a smaller cabinet which she will expand as and when necessary. Ashoke Sen, former law minister, is likely to be offered the Lok Sabha speakership. It is not yet known whether he will accept the post because he did not do so when a similar offer was made to him after the 1967 elections. The new government also proposes to revive the Republic Day awards — Bharat Ratna, Padma Vlbhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Sihri — which the Janata government had abolished.
Janata Loss Decoded
The Janata big wigs expected to get a clear majority in the Lok Sabha poll even after counting of votes had begun. They were totally in the dark about the inclination of the electorate and the press contributed the lions share in it, the Janata leader, Jagjivan Ram said. Ram gave the following reasons for the Janata debacle: 1) Infighting 2) Rising prices of essential commodities under the Charan ministry 3) The propaganda that the Janata party was associated with communal elements. He said that the first cause behind the party’s poor performance had now disappeared; the second was not in Janata’s hands any more, and for removing the third, the Muslim brothers would have to be convinced that Janata was a secular party.
Zia Counters Soviets
Pakistan president, General Zia-ul-Haq, repudiated Soviet charges that Pakistan is training Afghan refugees and called the accusations “mischievious and unfounded”. Without naming sources, General Zia said, “these slanders are part of a sinister design”. The Pakistani president said providing relief for the 4,30,000 Afghan refugees who have fled from various Soviet-installed regimes in Kabul is costing Pakistan $ 1.7 million per day. General Zia further told a gathering of mountain tribesmen near the Afghan border, that “so long as tyranny and oppression lasts, the Afghan refugees will receive the traditional hospitality of the Pakistani people.”