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Janata Party (1974–77): Creation of an all-India opposition
journal contributionposted on 04.04.2019, 08:27 authored by Rakesh AnkitRakesh Ankit
© 2017 Jamia Millia Islamia. This article focuses on the interactions among four parties during 1974–77 that led to their combining to form the Janata Party, which represented a united opposition to the then Prime Minister Mrs Indira Gandhi and her Congress government in January 1977. These inter-party exchanges remain an overlooked episode in the works on the Janata Party, when compared to its much written about the failure in government (1977–79). Forty years on, Janata Party’s formation continues to be understood as a natural and inevitable response to the imposition of emergency by Mrs Gandhi in June 1975. This article, instead, focuses on the engagements among the leaders of the Bharatiya Lok Dal (BLD), Congress (O), Bharatiya Jana Sangh (BJS) and the Socialist Party (SP) before, during and after the emergency and contends that Janata’s creation was neither a foregone conclusion nor a straightforward process. Second, this coming together of disparate individuals owed more to the possibility of gaining power and personal inclinations than any political principles or policy impulses. Third, while Jayaprakash Narayan (JP) is rightly celebrated as the rival protagonist in oppositional politics to Mrs Gandhi, this article argues that there were limits to his leadership in forging the new party and there was no automatic evolution of the latter from the former. This article is based on the papers of JP and his secretary Brahmanand and, supplemented by other relevant material, shows an unheralded facet of an attempt, which might have come to power on hyperbole but its formation was hard work.
- Social Sciences
- Politics and International Studies