Friday, March 26, 2021

Alternative Political Order in Gujarat -2

Alternative Political Order in Gujarat-1

During British Rule in India, large portion of Gujarat was under the rule of the Princely States. Sewa Dal workers under the guidance of Mahatma Gandhi were bringing awareness of Gram Swaraj and reviving Khadi and Gramodhyog activities in villages. As a lead party in freedom struggle, INC held the majority vote share in the elections post independence. But in democracy, the voice of alternative political order also grow side by side.

One can locate the seeds of alternative political order in the ideological differences between Nehru (left wing) and Sardar Patel (right wing). Acharya Kripalani, the candidate supported by Nehru for Congress President in 1950 didn’t get a single vote from Gujarat Congress. The candidate Purushottam Das Tondon backed by Sardar Patel and Dr. Rajendra Prasad won the election. Later, against the secular will, DyPM Sardar Patel initiated the reconstruction of Somnath Temple, Food & Agriculture Minister Kanaiyalal Munshi consolidated the efforts and President Dr Rajendra Prasad inaugurated (11/5/1951) it. Following the advice of Gandhi, “late the people not the government bear the expenditure expenditure of government”, Shri Somnath Trust was set up in 1949 with the tripartite agreement amongst GOI, Govt of Saurastra and the Trust. HH Digvijaysinhji, Maharaja of Navanagar (Jamnagar) as it’s first Chairman. Later, it was registered under Societies Act with and Shri Kanaiyalal Maneklal Munshi became it’s second Chairman from 1950.

Sardar Patel died on 15/12/1950, Dhebarbhai became President of INC in 1951, Gujarat politicians had greater say in Bombay State, Morarji Desai was building his career in closeness of Nehru, but in 1956, when the State of Gujarat was not formed, the Maha Gujarat agitation (1956-1960) under the leadership of Indulal Yagnik played a big role in raising voice of Gujarat. Morarji Desai lost his popularity. He avoided to become the first CM of newly formed Gujarat, and also failed in making his man as the first CM. Later, the government of Dr Jivrajbhai Mehta was toppled. Morarji Desai failed in succeeding Nehru as PM of India. He lost the chair against Lal Bahadur Shastri in June 1964, and after the death of LBS in Tashkent, he failed in second attempt too against Mrs Indira Gandhi in January 1966.

INC government in Bombay started land reforms. There was opposition amongst the landowners. The seeds of alternative political order was down when the landowners (Kshatriyas and Patidars) formed Swatantra Party Gujarat to counter the force of INC. Maha Gujarat movement under Indulal Yagnik had taken on the mighty Congress. The new party Swatantra Party gained significant vote share in the Lok Sabha and assembly elections in 1962. In the 1962 Lok Sabha, SP-G won 25% of the vote share in Gujarat. In 1967, Lok Sabha SP-G increased its vote share to 39.9%. SP-G won 26/168 assembly seats in 1962 and won 66/168 in 1967. Congress won (93) 1967 with a thin majority.

After losing PM chair against Mrs Gandhi in 1966, Morarji Desai became the DyPM and FM in the Ministry of Mrs Gandhi. He became unpopular with the Gold Control Act. He was against the nationalisation of the banks. At party front things were boiling between syndicates and indicates. President Zakir Hussain died in May 1969. The Syndicate having command over the party plotted Neelam Sanjeev Reddy for the post. It was birth centenary year of Mahatma Gandhi, therefore, Indira Gandhi proposed the name of Babu Jagjeevan Ram. But he lost in the executive committee voting against NS Reddy. Therefore, VV Giri was placed against Reddy. On 16 July, she took away Finance Ministry from Morarji Desai. He resigned. On 20 July, she declared nationalisation of Banks. She didn’t issue party whip for voting in Presidential election and told the party men to follow the ‘inner voice’. Inner voice was interpreted as ‘Voice of Indira’. The official candidate of Congress N Sanjeev Reddy was defeated and VV Giri backed by Indira Gandhi became the President of India in August 1969. The Congress Executive Committee meeting was called on 1/11/1969 and Indira Gandhi was expelled from the party. But a parallel meeting was called by Indira Gandhi at her residence and she was elected as the leader. Congress was divided between Congress (I) and Congress (S). All except two State were retained in power with Congress (I) but Karnataka and Gujarat went to Congress (S). Hitendra Desai Goverment was continued in power as Congress (S) government in Gujarat.

Hitendra Desai was facing Communal riots in Gujarat. The communal atmosphere of Ahmedabad was disturbed in September 1969. An incident of pushing a cart of a Muslim by a policeman in Kalupur, and dropping an aarti plate by a Muslim PSI at Ramlila Utsav disturbed the harmony. BJS Balraj Maghok visited the city and addressed meetings on 14-15 September. There was an Ursh festival of Muslims at Bukhari Dargah on 18 September. A Sadhu with cows passing through the crowd was beaten by the crowd. Sadhu Sevadas of Jagannath Temple went on fast until death on 19 September. Riots broke out in the city. Dalits were placed before the Muslims to fight communal violence. City went under curfew. Families were migrated to villages. 514 people were killed. Many shops and houses were placed under fire. Army was called and riots were controlled but lot of damaged done in breaking the trust between the two communities. After a year of the riots, 17 MLAs resigned from the ruling party in March 1971. CM Hitendra Desai resigned. Kantilal Ghia, the leader of Congress (I) failed in submitting list of support of 85 MLAs to form the government. President Rule was imposed in May 1971.

On National front Mrs Gandhi won Parliament Elections of March 1971 winning 352 of 542 Seats. Her ‘Garibi Hatao’ (eradicate poverty) slogan was a game changer. INC symbol of “pair of two bullocks carrying a yoke” was replaced with a symbol of “cow-calf”. It was a brand Indira. Sanjay Gandhi was growing up as a power centre.

1 July 2018


Post a Comment

Powered by Blogger.