Forty Years Ago: July 22, 1979
Chavan Opts Out
The Leader of the Opposition, Y B Chavan, has opted out of the contest to form a government. His party has decided to back Charan Singh for prime ministership. ‘This means that the three contenders for prime ministership in March 1977 — Morarji Desai, Jagjivan Ram and Charan Singh — have bounced back into the field. Charan Singh may ultimately have to fight against either Desai, who is fighting every inch to retain the leadership of the Janata Party in Parliament, or Jagjivan Ram, who wants to capture the party from Desai. It remains to be seen whom the President will invite next to form a government.
With Y B Chavan’s inability to form a government, the spotlight has now turn ed on Charan Singh. But it is not yet certain whether the President win invite him to form a government. Charan Singh’s advisers are. however, looking for parliamentary precedents to support his case. Even if the President does invite him, the numbers do not yet give him a majority in the Lok Sabha. At best, it will be a ram shackle structure. The dispirited Janata members have suddenly come to life; they are trying to reconstruct the party majority. The thinking now is that the party should seize the opportunity to form a government: With Morarji Desai if possible, without him if necessary. So far, Desai has given no indication that he will make way for Charan Singh, despite a request from Jayaprakash Narayan to that end.
The first major shake-up in the Haryana Janata Legislature Party took place today when 28 of its members left the party and formed the Janata (S) group in the Vidhan Sabha under the leadership of Devi Lal. Four legislators had joined the Janata (S) a few days ago, bringing the number of Janata (S) legislators in the Vidhan Sabha to 32. The Janata Legislature Party had 75 members in a house of 90.