"THE IMPORTANCE OF JUNE 12"
I am in Patna today for the two-day session of the party’s National Executive. This will be the first meeting of the new National Executive named by President Nitin Gadkari.
For the host of young first timers in the Executive today would be an important date for that reason itself. But those keeping track of the events in independent India since 1947, today is a historical date of landmark significance.
In the annals of India’s political history June 12 is a very important date. It is a date the country must not forget.
Exactly on this date, thirty five years ago, two events occurred which if the Establishment’s reaction to those events had stabilized, and their intentions had succeeded, Indian democracy would have been completely annihilated. Today, we would have been living in a different India. It would certainly not have been an India which is respected immensely because it has been a successful democracy.
I am recalling today 12th June, 1975. I have in front of me a publication titled PMO DIARY : Prelude to the Emergency by B.N. Tandon. I have known the author and his family closely for over four decades. The family lived next door to my residence in Pandara Park. Bishan Tandon has been a senior IAS official who in Mrs. Gandhi’s regime was Joint Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office. When I was Information and Broadcasting Minister in Shri Morarji Desai’s Cabinet, I had chosen his younger brother Gopal Tandon to work as my Special Assistant in the Ministry.
Bishan Tandon’s book is a faithful datewise recording of the events of those days. Under 12 June 1975, he has recorded :
“This day will go down in history. Bad news began to come in from the morning itself. Early in the morning I got the news that D.P. Dhar (Minister in the Central Government, later Ambassador in U.S.S.R.) had passed away.
The P.M. had not come to the office. She was awaiting the news from Allahabad. Vineeta Rai called me at 10.05 and said that the court had decided against the P.M. but that the news was being confirmed.
I immediately went to the PTI/UNI teleprinters which are situated between my room and VR’s. There I read that Justice Jagmohan Lal Sinha had set aside the P.M’s election and upholding the charges of corruption he had barred her from contesting any election for six years…..”
By the evening the Gujarat (Assembly) election results began to come in. The Janata Morcha (led by Morarji Bhai) and comprising of Congress (O), Jana Sangh, Lok Dal and S.P. seems well ahead of the Congress. It looks as if the Congress will be defeated which, in reality, will be the P.M’s defeat as she has carried the entire burden of the Gujarat elections on her shoulders”.
While planning Jana Sangh’s National Executive dates in the month of May, we were aware of the Gujarat poll schedule and the fact that the results would be announced on June 12. We were aware that Raj Narain’s election petition against Smt. Gandhi in respect of her Rae Bareily election was being heard by Justice Jag Mohan Lal of the Allahabad High Court. But we had no idea as to when the verdict would be delivered. On the basis of the Gujarat poll schedule the party had decided that the Jana Sangh National Executive would meet at Mount Abu on June 15, 16 and 17, 1975.
The venue was chosen because of its proximity to Gujarat. Most of the senior leaders of the party had spent nearly a month campaigning in Gujarat.
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One of our Executive members those days used to be Dr. Vasant Kumar Pandit, a renowned professional astrologer who was recipient of a Ph.D. in Astrology. Dr. Pandit was a member of the Maharashtra Legislative Council for eighteen years and a member of the Lok Sabha from 1977 to 1984.
I have always been cynical about astrological predictions. But I can never forget the brief chat I had with Pandit at Mount Abu. Relaxing after lunch on the second day, I happened to ask Vasant Kumar “Panditji, aap ke nakshatra ab kya bol rahe hein ?” His reply was baffling. He said: “Advaniji, I myself am unable to understand. I feel intrigued. What I am able to read from the stars, it seems we are heading for a two-year exile !” Before the month of June ended, the exile predicted by Dr. Vasant Kumar had actually begun in the form of nineteen months imprisonment, not just for a few leaders, but for tens of thousands of opposition activists !
New Delhi/ Patna
June 12, 2010