Opinion

July 10, 1979, Forty Years Ago: Govt On Backfoot

July 10, 1979, Forty Years Ago: Govt On Backfoot

Govt On Backfoot

Opposition in Parliament demanded the resignation of the prime minister and the home minister for the government’s inept handling of the agitation by the police and paramilitary forces. In the Rajya Sabha, two Janata members, S C Jha and Rameshwar Singh, supported the Opposition demand. In the Lok Sabha, an adjournment motion on the issue moved by CPM MP, Samar Makherjee, was rejected.

Janata Defections

As many as 10 Lok Sabha members walked out of the ruling Janata Party to sit on the Opposition benches with Raj Narain. In the process they reduced the ruling party’s strength to 288 in a house of 543. Narain’s camp predicted more resignations from the Janata Party, but a party spokesman said there was no danger to the stability of the government considering that it continued to have a majority in the lower House.

Right To Dissent

Socialist strategy within the Janata Party, chalked out by their two-day conclave, declares that they will oppose such government measures, introduced in the legislatures, which “violate the spirit” of the election manifesto and other policy resolutions of the Janata Party. The meeting in New Delhi specifically mentioned in the context, “any suggestion to bring forward a preventive detention bill or any other measure which curtails civil liberties as also the Industrial Relations Bill”.

Amnesty in Iran

Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini announced a general amnesty covering “all those people who committed offences under the past regime,” excluding those involved in murder or torture. Khomeini’s annoucement said the measure also applied to armed forces members. The announcement came on the eve of the birthday of Imam Mehdi, an ancient Shiite Muslim patriarch whose birthday is celebrated across Iran.