December 5, 1978, Forty Years Ago: Desai-Charan meeting fails to resolve crisis
The crisis in the Janata Party is building up and talks to resolve it have failed so far. On the one hand, the much awaited meeting between Prime Minister Morarji Desai and Charan Singh has proved to be abortive and, on the other, George Fernandes has remained firm on quitting the Union Cabinet. (He may leave the government tomorrow). Desai is said to be willing to take Charan Singh back into the Cabinet, but neither as Deputy Prime Minister nor as Home Minister. The latter had insisted that he can return only in either of these two capacities. Singh did not mention the name of Raj Narain but wanted the return of the four Ministers of State who resigned in protest against his ouster from the government. Singh also asked for the reinduction of the two Rajasthan ministers who were recently dropped from the state government’s council of ministers.
While Jammu city observed hartal today, student and youth mobs burnt two police and two government vehicles including a jeep, in protest against Saturday’s police firing in Poonch, which resulted in the death of a student. The call for the hartal was given by university and college students and supported by all opposition parties. The police fired over a dozen tear-gas shells and resorted to mild lathi-charge in the City Chowk and other places on the youth mobs, who were pelting stones at them.
Bandh against Pawar
Barring a few stray incidents of stone-throwing, the “Vidarbha bandh” in all the eight districts evoked a partial response and passed off peacefully, according to reports reaching the Divisional Commissioner’s office here in Nagpur. The call for the bandh was jointly given by the Congress, the Congress (I) and the Republican Party (Gavai group) in protest against the Sharad Pawar government and its policies.