Forty years ago, January 21, 1979: No double take
Charan Singh, former Union Home Minister, rejected on January 20 the new formula envisaging posts of deputy prime ministership for him and for the defence minister, Jagjivan Ram, as a solution to the protracted crisis in the Janata Party. Talking to journalists in Jabalpur, he stated that the formula was not acceptable to him “at any cost”. He recalled having rejected a similar proposal at the time of the formation of the Janata government in March 1977. When asked about a possible revival of his erstwhile BLD — one of the major constituents of the Janata Party — Singh said he would decide on his future course of action at the convention of his old BLD colleagues, friends and well-wishers in Delhi on January 28.
The Congress-I working committee will concretise the modalities of unity at its next meeting and submit the proposals to Congress leaders. The Congress leaders will then further discuss the proposals, and if these are accepted, the Congress president will call a meeting of the CWC to endorse them. Both sides expect that the issue will be clinched in the next 20 days — before the budget session of Parliament, according to an informed source.
New Rules for Iran
Triumphant anti-Shah activists are starting to take police powers and public services into their own hands in parts of Iran because of a breakdown in government authority, with some benefits for the ordinary man but also the prospect of serious trouble. The new trend towards “people’s control” of neighbourhoods has led to the creation of food, clothing and fuel cooperatives providing services that the nation’s weak government and strike-bound private enterprise can no longer handle. But in some places, self-appointed vigilantes are using their new powers to violently settle scores with pro-Shah elements and other enemies.