June 22, 1978, Forty Years Ago: Janata factions
On the eve of the crucial meeting of the Central Parliamentary Board, which is to decide on disciplinary action against Raj Narain, the ruling Janata party continued to be trapped in the crisis. An opening provided by the appeal issued by Jayaprakash Narayan was sought to be utilised to avert a showdown, but it seems peace-seekers have to cover plenty of ground before they can hope for success. The issues raised by the health minister regarding Chandra Shekhar’s presidency and continuance of the existing National Executive have receded. The Parliamentary Board is meeting to discuss the question of indiscipline in the party and primarily Raj Narain’s case. There are hawks in the party who want firm action against Raj Narain; there are some who feel that this might make Charan Singh take some precipitate action. A decision on Raj Narain either way will ultimately decide the course of the current power struggle in the ruling party.
Prospects of the Communist Party of India and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) uniting to provide a national left alternative have dimmed if the latest criticism of the former by the latter’s Politburo is any guide. The CPM Politburo has taken to task the CPI General Secretary, C Rajeshwar Rao, for continuing his party’s “policy of whitewashing the crimes committed by former PM Indira Gandhi and her caucus.”
Quake in Greece
At least 14 persons were killed and about 150 injured in a powerful earthquake that devastated large areas of Salonika, Greece’s second largest city, and sent most of the 600,000 residents fleeing to the countryside. The quake, which registered 6.5 on the Richter scale, struck the capital of northern Greece after a month of lesser tremors. Bulgaria and Yugoslavia, like Greece, in the Balkan earthquake belt, were shaken but reported no casualties.