This Day in History (12-Nov-1969) – Indira Gandhi expelled from Congress for indiscipline during President elections

In 1967 while Indira Gandhi was PM, the Syndicate consisting of Moraraji Desai and others was controlling Indian National Congress (INC). On Kamaraj’s retirement as party president at the end of 1967, Syndicate foiled Indira’s attempt to have her own men elected to succeed him. Instead, the post went to the conservative Nijalingappa. In May 1967, the Congress Working Committee adopted a radical Ten-Point Programme which included social control of banks, nationalization of general insurance, abolition of princely privileges etc. making it a left wing. However, the Congress right, Syndicate opposed it.

On the death of President Zakir Husain in May 1969, the Syndicate despite Indira Gandhi’s opposition, nominated Sanjiva Reddy, as the Congress candidate for presidentship. As retaliation, Indira took away the Finance portfolio from Desai on the grounds that as a conservative he was incapable of implementing her radical programme. Other Presidential candidates were C.D. Deshmukh and V.V. Giri. At this stage, the Syndicate made a major blunder. To assure Reddy’s election, Nijalingappa met the leaders of Jan Sangh and Swatantra and persuaded them to cast their second preference votes in favour of Reddy. Indira Gandhi immediately accused the Syndicate of having struck a secret deal with communal and reactionary forces in order to oust her from power. She now openly, supported Giri in favour of Reddy and asked Congress MPs and MLAs to vote freely according to their ‘conscience’. In the election, nearly one-third of them defied the organizational leadership and voted for Giri, who won by narrow margin.

In the end, on 12 November, the defeated and humiliated Syndicate took disciplinary action against Indira Gandhi and expelled her from the party for having violated party discipline. The party had finally split with Indira Gandhi setting up a rival organization, which came to be known as Congress (R)—R for Requisitionists. The Syndicate-dominated Congress came to be known as Congress (0)—0 for Organization. In the final countdown, 220 of the party’s Lok Sabha MPs went with Indira Gandhi and 68 with the Syndicate. In the All India Congress Committee too 446 of its 705 members walked over to Indira’s side. Indira Gandhi won 1971 elections with 2/3rd Majority.

 

Reference:

http://www.indianage.com/search.php

http://indiansaga.com/history/postindependence/split_congress.html

http://indiansaga.com/history/postindependence/final_blow.html

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