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March 7, 1977, Forty Years Ago

Indira claimed the Emergency was in force only to deal with banned organisations and economic offenders.

By: Editorial | Published: March 7, 2017 1:20:50 am

Indira On Emergency

Prime Minister Indira Gandhi has appealed to the people of Kerala to rise above narrow sectional loyalties and view issues in a national perspective before casting their votes in the coming elections. Addressing a meeting in Kochi, she listed the achievements of Congress rule, stressed the need for economic and political stability, attacked the opposition and defended the Emergency. She sought to assuage religious minorities and the unemployed by reasserting Congress faith in secularism and plans for development, which could generate greater employment. Mrs Gandhi said in Calicut earlier that if the Emergency was withdrawn completely the common people would suffer most. She claimed the Emergency was in force only to deal with banned organisations and economic offenders. The banned groups were not political but communal and out to foment communal trouble.

Opposition Targeted

Dilip Chakravarthy, Janata Party candidate for the Calcutta South Lok Sabha seat, sustained a serious head injury and the CPM nominee for Jadhavpur, Somnath Chatterjee, reportedly received fist blows when a procession of opposition parties at Bagha Jatin was attacked. Chakravarthy was rushed to hospital. Eight persons have been arrested in connection with the incident.

A New Socialism

Janata Party leader Chandra Shekhar lampooned the new kind of socialism the ruling party was bringing about where there was recession, inflation, mass retrenchment and unemployment and rights of trade union workers were denied. “This is not the socialism the country wants,” he said in Bombay. Doing a post-mortem on why the Emergency was brought about, Chandra Shekhar said the mammoth public response for Jayaprakash Narayan’s historic Patna march sowed the seed for the repressive measures.

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