Forty Years Ago: July 19, 1979
After three days of consultations with leaders of various parties, President N Sanjeeva Reddy invited the Leader of the Opposition Y B Chavan, to explore the possibility or forming a stable government to replace Morarji Desai’s caretaker government. The invitation, which boosted Congress morale, but caused varied reactions among other parties, was extended to Chavan by the President at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Chavan told newsmen as well as the Congress Working Committee later that he is confident he will be able to form a government. Chavan has asked for three to four days time for making efforts to seek support from other parties so that he can form a coalition government.
The Congress had a dream today. The dream of ruling the country again. The Congress Working Committee, which met in Delhi, was “highly excited” when Y B Chavan broke the news that he had been asked by the President to explore the possibilities of forming a government. Even CWC members who had earlier opposed the idea of joining a coalition government changed their stand. As a senior party leader put it: “Our leading a government is quite different from our joining a coalition government.” The CWC has given Chavan and Swaran Singh a free hand in the “exploration”.
Desai Won’t Quit
Prime Minister Morarji Desai is unlikely to resign as leader of the Janata parliamentary party. This indication was available from sources close to the PM. The Janata Party President Chandra Shekhar, declined to comment on Jayaprakash Narayan’s reported letter advising Desai to step down. Asked to comment, Chandra Shekhar said: “What can I say unless I get the letter?” JP, according to reports from Patna, had written to Desai suggesting that he should relinquish the leadership of the Janata parliamentary party and help elect Jagjivan Ram in his place.