Forty Years Ago: January 8, 1979
Charan Singh’s Party
Charan Singh’s Tughlaq Road house turned out to be the unlikely meeting place for the cold-warring faction leaders of the Congress and Janata parties. What brought them together was a tea party to celebrate the birth of Charan Singh’s grandson in the US. Prime Minister Desai came, so did Indira Gandhi. Jagjivan Ram paid what may have been his first visit to Charan Singh’s house. Others who came to partake of coffee, samosas and barfi were Congress President Swaran Singh, Y B Chavan, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Biju Patnalk. Mrs Gandhi shared a sofa with the kisan leader. Eye witnesses, who did not miss a nuance, said she sat on her end of the sofa beaming and smiling while the Chaudhury occupied his corner, cold and informal. They hardly made any conversation. The manner of Jagjivan Ram towards Charan Singh too was quite cold. Morarji and Mrs Gandhi did not exchange any words, the onlooker said.
Demonstrators demanding the overthrow of Shah Mohammad Reza Pehlavi returned to the streets of Teheran and other cities, while many shopkeepers apparently heeded calls for a general strike. Two persons were killed and three injured during a clash between demonstrators and security officers in the town of Beneh. The new wave of violence appeared to be a direct challenge to the two-day-old civilian government of Prime Minister Shahpour Bakhtiar.
The political conference of Congress workers in Maharashtra unanimously “elected” D T Rupawate, who recently resigned as joint secretary of the AICC, president of the Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee “removing” N M Tidke from the party post. Chief minister Sharad Pawar said “spineless” Tidke and his associates were bent upon surrendering to the authoritarianism of the Congress (I), headed by Indira Gandhi.