Indira made Jagjivan Ram scapegoat during Emergency, says biography
D K Singh Posted online: Tue Jul 06 2010, 08:46 hrs
New Delhi : A biography of former union minister Jagjivan Ram has
claimed that the late prime minister Indira Gandhi used the Dalit
leader as a "bali ka bakra" (scapegoat) during Emergency in an attempt
to remove any possible challenge to her leadership.
The biography in Hindi, Babu Jagjivan Ram: Ek Jivani, has been penned
by writer Mangalmurti. It was released by Union Human Resource
Development Minister Kapil Sibal in the presence of Lok Sabha Speaker
Meira Kumar here today. Meira Kumar, who is Jagjivan Ram's daughter,
has also written a blurb for the book.
According to the biography, while Jagjivan Ram was used by the
Congress and the government for his popularity and competence, he was
never given any position of eminence because the "prime minister's
chair was deemed to be the birthright of uchchavargiya (high-class)
The author says that Indira did not trust Jagjivan Ram. "Even before
the imposition of Emergency and more so after it, Jagjivan Ram
remained under suspicion, and central intelligence agencies strictly
monitored all those who met him," says the book, citing the writings
of Indira's "confidential sources", apart from some other "reliable
"It is clear from Indiraji's continuing distrust in him that...
Jagjivan Babu's popularity, political diplomacy (kootnitigyata) and
competence was always taken advantage of by the party and the
government. But when the question of giving him a position of eminence
came, he was always pushed behind — probably because he hailed from
the most neglected, deprived community while the prime minister's
chair was deemed to be the birthright of uchchavargiya leaders only,"
"Along with Indiraji, Jagjivan Ram was the most senior and competent
leader, who was the most eligible for the post of prime minister
also... The biggest threat was from none other than Jagjivan Ram and
therefore, he was considered the biggest scapegoat to move the
resolution on Emergency," says the biography (page 188).
According to the book, Jagjivan Ram came to know about the imposition
of Emergency only the next morning, but he was asked to move the
resolution supporting it in Parliament a month later. It was because
of this resolution that Jagjivan Ram, who quit the Congress in 1977,
could not even become prime minister in the Janata Party government,
says the author. The arguments given by Jagjivan Ram in support of
Emergency sounded "more like those given by the prime minister's
secretariat," he adds.
The biography says that on February 1, 1977, when Jagjivan Ram was
called by Indira, he suggested the lifting of repressive laws,
restoring full independence to the media and releasing all those
arrested during the Emergency, but she was "not fully convinced".
"After five-seven minutes of the meeting, Jagjivan Babu returned
disappointed," says the book. After his return from the meeting, he
consulted his well-wishers and decided to resign from the party and
the government immediately.
The book is also very critical of Indira for her "increasing
power-driven ambitions" and "personalised politics" that changed the
"basic nationalist character" of the Congress.
When contacted, Sibal said he was not aware of the contents of the
book, and had aready clarified in his speech at the book release
function that he did not endorse the author's views regarding
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