Vijayalakshmi Pandit said Indira Gandhi was “not at all justified” in proclaiming the Emergency. “Democratic institutions which we had built up through the years of Independence were smothered and destroyed one after another. The rule of law was undermined and the independence of the judiciary ended, press censorship was imposed,” she added. Mrs Pandit, 76-year-old sister of the late Jawaharlal Nehru, made it clear that she had “no intention to stand for any office or for the Lok Sabha”, and added she was not joining any party. She had come out of retirement and “offered my help and assistance in every way” to Jagjivan Ram and the Janata Party. Mrs Pandit said she would not campaign against Mrs Gandhi in Rae Bareli and reasoned that might divert attention from the issues. On the rise of Sanjay Gandhi, she said: “He is my grand-nephew. When one enters public life, it is for the people to decide whether he is acceptable.”
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Editor To Contest
B.G. Verghese, former press advisor to Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, and one-time editor of the Hindustan Times, will contest the Lok Sabha election as an independent from Mavelikkara in Kerala. Verghese, who hails from Thiruvalla which falls in this constituency, will be supported by all the opposition parties.
No Radio Debate
L.K. Advani, Janata Party general secretary, told the media that he did not agree with Indira Gandhi’s rationale for turning down his suggestion to hold a radio and TV debate between her and Morarji Desai, the chairman of the Janata Party. In a letter to Advani, the prime minister stated, “The question of debates over radio (and television) had been examined at the time of earlier elections. The talks held did not lead to agreement due to the multiplicity of parties. This situation has not basically changed. I regret your suggestion is impracticable.”