June 30, 1978, Forty Years Ago: PM’s salvo

When it came to Charan Singh, there were three ministers, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, George Fernandes and Biju Patnaik, who advocated a softer line

By: Editorials | Published: June 30, 2018 1:14:49 am

old indianexpress newspapers, June 30 1978, charan singh, raj narain, janata party, chandra shekhar, indian express

PM’s Salvo

The prime minister has asked the home minister and health minister to resign from the government. This follows the Cabinet’s authorising the PM to take “appropriate” action against Charan Singh and Raj Narain for having violated propriety and the principle of collective responsibility that cabinet ministers are expected to maintain. The letters, drafted by H M Patel and Ravindra Varma, were sent by a special messenger to Charan Singh at Suraj Kund where he is convalescing and to Raj Narain at his residence. Although both letters demanded the resignation of the two ministers, they were written in different tones. The letter to Narain was harsher. At the Cabinet meeting, which went on for two-and-a-half hours the same trend was discernible. Ministers, without exception, demanded Narain’s resignation. But when it came to Charan Singh, there were three ministers, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, George Fernandes and Biju Patnaik, who advocated a softer line.

Delicate Janata

Members of the Janata Party’s national executive present in Delhi are likely to discuss the party crisis, the party President Chandra Shekhar has indicated. Chandra Shekhar told newsmen, however, it would not be a regular meeting. He said such a meeting would be held only if necessary. Chandra Shekhar said some of the national executive members had come to him for consultations after the meeting or the Union Cabinet. He had also called on Prime Minister Mr Morarji Desai The party chief declined to comment on the present situation, which he described as “delicate”.

Charan’s Defence

Charan Singh, Union home minister, said that he stands by his statement about Mrs Indira Gandhi’s arrest and trial. The statement was not directed against the prime minister or any of his colleagues. It was, he said, a reflection of the will of the people.

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