Text of Article written by Rajni Kothari, Seminar January 1976. Copied from the book “In the name of Democracy, JP Movement and Emergency” by Bipan Chandra

Together, the actions of the opposition and the government signaled a breakdown of the basic consensus and that had informed more than twenty-five years of democratic functioning….There were some who thought that neither the opposition nor the government really cared for the people and that it was all a game of power within a narrow elite which had lost all contact with the people… This feeling increased sharply during 1975 as the show of power on both sides transcended the bunds of propriety and decency and as the political process came to be dominated by new cliques of self-styled leaders who indulged in raw and naked means of demonstrating their power…..

In point of fact, however, the situation was somewhat improving just at the time when the opposition decided to adopt an aggressive posture and the government over-reacted to it….(after the Allahabad Judgment) the opposition went for Mrs. Gandhi blood and the government responded by virtually suspending the constitution… a climate of confrontation was being built up—- and continuously aggravated—-over a much longer time…Two interrelated aspects of this were a basic transformation of the power structure within the congress…. And a highly frustrated opposition highly capable of making itself through the parliamentary system and taking recourse to the politics of the street for bringing down duly constituted governments and elected legislatures.

While radicals in the congress (backed by CPI and its fellow travelers) succeeded in manipulating state politics and backing corrupt politicians in congress governments and adhoc PCCs in the states, the opposition looked for shortcuts to bringing down elected governments and legislatures, often supporting violent and strong armed tactics of youthful rebels who knew not what they were doing.


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