August 10, 1978, Forty Years Ago
On the eve of the crucial debate in the Rajya Sabha on the Congress-I demand for the setting up of commissions of inquiry into charges of corruption in high places, the Janata leadership issued a three-line whip to Janata MPs asking them to be present in the House and vote for the government. The leadership rejected the demand made by some pro-Charan Singh members that the Janata MPs should be allowed to vote according to their conscience. The decision to issue the whip means that Janata members not following the party’s decision to oppose the Congress-I resolution will face disciplinary action, including expulsion.
Rebels And China
Prime Minister Morarji Desai said that Minister of External Affairs Atal Bihari Vajpayee, during his visit to Beijing, will ask China to stop training guerillas and insurgents hostile to India. The PM said that any revolt by insurgents would be ruthlessly suppressed. The situation in Manipur came under discussion following a question in Parliament on the declaration of the Manipur Valley as a disturbed area.
Justice J C Shah warned that the Shah Commission reports must not be allowed to gather dust like those of other commissions in the past. This apparent reference to the tardy follow-up action on the first two reports is contained in the third and final report. Justice Shah also expressed the view that the Commissions of Inquiry Act needs to be amended to give commissions power to punish those who defy them.
At the “Save India Day” protest rally in Delhi, Indira Gandhi said the Janata government was so afraid of her that “one way or another it would ensure that I do not contest the general election”. She said she would not be intimidated by whatever happened, whether she was tried in a court, hung or shot.
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