The years of Indira Gandhi
Shastri’s sudden death opened up the succession problem. Among the most authoritative candidates within the INC was a veteran of the Gandhian battles, Morarji Desai, multiple minister with Nehru. The majority of the party’s parliamentary group instead sided in favor of Indira Ghandi, daughter of Nehru, president of the INC and former Minister of Information with Shastri. Having become prime minister thanks to a compromise between the right and left wings of the INC, India Gandhi soon found himself having to face serious regional problems, with violent implications in Bengal, and the onset of riots in the countryside, where programs development had not alleviated the misery of the poorest peasant groups. Reforms were initiated in the fields of agriculture, education, taxation and the nationalization of the large banks was started. This vast program of social reforms did not fail to arouse resistance and led to a clash with the conservative wing of the INC, which in 1969, under the leadership of Desai, split from the party. In the international arena, the continuation of the traditional policy of non-alignment was accompanied by an intensification of relations with the USSR and a strengthening of India’s role as a regional power. The difficult relations with Pakistan were further compromised by the support offered by India, supported diplomatically by the USSR, for the secession movement of East Bengal from Pakistan. Thanks to Indian military help, the secessionists defeated Pakistani troops and at the end of 1971 the Bangla Desh was born as an independent state. Relations between India and Pakistan were re-established only in 1976.
Towards the mid-1970s the worsening of the economic and social situation favored a growth of the opposition, to which India Gandhi reacted with a series of authoritarian measures. Accused of electoral fraud for the 1971 elections, she was found guilty by the Allahabad High Court and banned from public office for six years. The response to the opposition which, with a broad consensus of opinion, called for his resignation was the imposition of a state of emergency (1975-77): severe repression measures were adopted, including against autonomist pressures, and freedoms were limited. democratic; with a retroactive law also India Gandhi obtained the cancellation of the charges against him. In the elections, postponed to March 1977, the INC suffered its first defeat, by a new party, the Janata Dal, born that same year from the confluence of heterogeneous opposition forces and founded by Desai, just released from arrests following the proclamation of a state of emergency. While Desai was constituting the new government, India Ghandi was found guilty of abuse of power and jailed for a few days. Numerous exponents of the past administration were also investigated, including India Gandhi’s son, Sanjay, promoter of an unpopular voluntary sterilization campaign for population control. Expelled from the INC, India Gandhi re-founded the party, naming it INC (I), from the initial of Indira. Having entered the Janata Dal crisis due to its internal divisions, the INC (I) won the elections of January 1980. Returning to power, India Gandhi achieved brilliant diplomatic successes, while relations with the USSR became more cautious following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Inside, serious difficulties were caused by the rekindling of autonomist and religious conflicts in Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, but above all in Panjab, where the Sikhs called for the creation of an independent state, Khalistan. On June 6, 1984 India Gandhi ordered military intervention against the Amritsar temple and 29 other temples manned by armed Sikhs: the victims were hundreds, including the leaders of Akali Dal, the political arm of the Sikhs, and J. Singh Bhindranwale, leader of the fundamentalists. The episode was followed by serious riots, military mutinies and the resignation of Sikh deputies from Congress. On October 31, 1984 India Gandhi died in a Sikh attack. The episode was followed by serious riots, military mutinies and the resignation of Sikh deputies from Congress. On October 31, 1984 India Gandhi died in a Sikh attack. The episode was followed by serious riots, military mutinies and the resignation of Sikh deputies from Congress. On October 31, 1984 India Gandhi died in a Sikh attack. For India history, please check ehistorylib.com.
Rajiv’s difficult legacy
The rise to power of Nerhu’s daughter had not changed the statist approach, but had combined it with the progressive affirmation of a personalistic and autocratic model, intended to identify the party with the Gandhi family. However, it became increasingly difficult to make the different souls present in the INC (I) coexist and to hold the compromise between the upper caste, the lower caste and the religious minorities on which the party itself had founded its social roots and built its success. On the death of Indira, the leadership of the party and the government was taken over by her son Rajiv Gandhi, who entered politics after the death of his elder brother Sanjay (in a plane crash in 1980) and decided to continue the policy that had belonged to his mother: industrial development, with some economic liberalization measures, of non-alignment and affirmation of India’s regional role. Despite the strong parliamentary majority obtained in the December 1984 elections, R. Gandhi, initially accompanied by great popular support but still politically inexperienced, suffered a progressive loss of support. The opposition, which grew and organized politically, significantly reduced the margins of the majority in many states, in which the autonomist tendencies were strengthened, with the aftermath of internal unrest. Particularly serious were the conflicts in Assam, Jammu and Kashmir, Bengal and Tamil Nadu, where an incessant separatist guerrilla was supported by deeply rooted ethnic motivations. The central government responded to such and many conflicts with severe repressive measures, by imposing emergency measures in many states and taking direct control of their administration. R. Gandhi also came into conflict with the party apparatus and with the state bureaucracy for having tried to control both through his trusted advisors. On the social level, the process of privatization and market liberalization he initiated, also at the request of the International Monetary Fund, tended to favor the middle class, the driving force of an economy that should also have led to the progress of the more weak. However, the rise in prices following liberalization caused great discontent. While religious conflicts, fomented by fundamentalist movements of opposing confessions, made the social disturbance more acute, serious episodes of corruption engulfed the government.