Rediff Navigator News


Capital Buzz

The Rediff Poll

Crystal Ball

Click Here

The Rediff Special


The Rediff Special

'The price of an MP is increasing day by day. For God's sake, take a decision immediately'

Jagjivan Ram, who found himself for the first time out of power since 1946, arrived at the gates of Rashtrapati Bhavan for an interview with the President. The President sent word to Jagjivan Ram through his secretary that the President was too busy to grant an interview at that time. Jagjivan Ram lost his patience and over-reacted to the situation by openly attributing to the President casteism besides alleging that the President had displayed a vindictive attitude and wreaked vengeance on him for not supporting him in the 1969 presidential election.

The orchestra did not end with that. Atal Bihari Vajpayee finally appeared on the scene in the company of Chandra Shekhar and with his customary rhetoric declared that the President played a conspiratorial role in joining hands with Charan Singh and Indira Gandhi. He made it almost an electoral plank that if his party was voted to power, the first thing they would do was to impeach the President, little realising that such a statement would only sully the image of the highest office of the land and would not bring any credit to himself. Perhaps in their desperate mood they were not able to discern the damage they were causing to the august office of the President vis-a-vis the country.

However, when the President took the drastic step of dissolving the Lok Sabha, strangely they were united in blaming him. They did not look upon the decisions with either charity or philosophical resignation. They did not even concede that the President had the right to exercise his discretion in such an imbroglio, and act according to his own conscience in the absence of a constitutional precedent. According to Sub-clause 2 of Article 75 of the Indian Constitution: 'Ministers shall hold office during the pleasure of the President.' Of course, the President's powers are the subject of national debate.

After their noisy demonstration before the Rashtrapati Bhavan iron gates, the frustrated Janata leaders particularly Jagjivan Ram and Chandra Shekhar dispatched a lengthy letter to the President criticising the dissolution of the Lok Sabha, on the plea that the President granted four days to Y B Chavan, and nearly 20 days to Charan Singh whereas Jagjivan Ram was denied even a few hours. To this lengthy letter, the President sent a laconic one-sentence reply: 'the version given in your letter is not the correct version.'

Obviously, this curt reply from the Head of the State, though appreciated by some, led the group of Jagjivan Ram, Chandra Shekhar and other Janata leaders into uncontrollable fury and they began to issue scurrilous statements to the press. The President in all dignity and decorum that goes with the highest office of the land chose to remain silent. It is learnt that before the President decided to dissolve Parliament, Daftary, the constitutional expert went to him and said 'The country is passing through a long crisis. The price of an MP is increasing day by day on the bargaining counter. For God's sake, take a decision immediately.'

Kind courtesy: From Farm House to Rashtrapati Bhavan, by I V Chalapati Rao and P Audinarayana Reddy, Booklinks Corporation, Hyderabad, 1989.

Tell us what you think of this extract


Home | News | Business | Sport | Movies | Chat
Travel | Planet X | Freedom | Computers

Copyright 1997 Rediff On The Net
All rights reserved