Sunday, February 20, 2011



India has been independent for over six decades now. For the first three decades the Congress Party dominated the political scene like a colossus. It was in power in most of the States. In the Lok Sabha, none of the non-Congress parties could muster strength even to secure the status of the Official Opposition, with its leader named Leader of the Opposition.

It was in the mid 70s that a powerful students movement arose in Gujarat against corruption. This inspired Jaya Prakashji to mobilize students in Bihar also against corruption. It was this campaign that brought J.P. in touch with the ABVP, and through this body, with the RSS. Independently, I had been meeting him because of his interest in Electoral Reforms. He kept affirming those days that Corruption in public life has its roots in the Congress Government’s own Corruption. So long as the Opposition Parties remained divided, this malady cannot be effectively tackled.

The J.P. movement against corruption thus brought the Jana Sangh, Congress (O), S.P. and BLD together. As Janata Morcha, these parties acting in concert won a significant victory in Gujarat, till then an impregnable Congress stronghold.

The Gujarat verdict was announced on 12th June, 1975. On exactly the same day, the Allahabad High Court declared Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s election to the Lok Sabha from Rae Bareilly as void, and furthermore disqualified her for a period of six years on grounds of electoral corruption. Because of these twin events June 12 triggered off a chain of earthshaking happenings including Emergency, incarceration of over one lakh persons, censorship of the press etc. which ended only when in March 1977 Lok Sabha elections, the Congress Party was roundly defeated, and the first non-Congress Government was formed under the leadership of Shri Morarji Desai. Jana Sangh, now a party merged into the newly formed Janata Party, was a constituent of this Government. The seeds were laid for the evolution of the bipolar polity which it has today become. It would thus be clear that the CATALYST for the first major turning point in our political history was CORRUPTION.

One wonders if for the second time, six decades after the adoption of our Constitution, Corruption again is going to become the principal Catalyst for Change!


L.K. Advani

New Delhi

20 February, 2011