Indira Gandhi was one of the strongest leaders of Independent India. She was the Prime Minister of the Republic of India for three consecutive terms from 1966 to 1977 and for a fourth term from 1980 until her assassination in 1984, a total of fifteen years. She was never defeated in any election exception the Rai Bareli Loksabha general elections held in 1977. Do you know the person who defeated Indira Gandhi in that election? His name was Raj Narayan. He was a candidate of Janata Party for the Rai Bareli Lok Sabha seat in 1977 where he defeated Indira Gandhi the then Prime Minister of India. Then he became the Health Minister in Morarji Desai’s cabinet. However, he was defeated by Indira Gandhi in 1971 General elections.
Raj Narayan accused Indira Gandhi of corrupt electoral practices and filed an election petition against her. The Allahabad High Court on 12 June 1975 upheld the accusations and set aside the election of Indira Gandhi and also disqualified her to contest Lok Sabha election for next 6 years. Many political experts claimed that this was the main reason behind declartion of emergency in 1975.
After getting defeat in the Allahabad Loksabha Elections, Raj Narayan lodged cases of election fraud and use of state machinery for election purposes against Mrs. Gandhi in the Allahabad High Court. On June 12, 1975, Justice Jagmohanlal Sinha of the Allahabad High Court found the Prime Minister guilty on the charge of misuse of government machinery for her election campaign. The court declared her election null and void. She was also unseated her from her seat in the Lok Sabha. The high court also banned her from contesting any election for an additional six years.
Because the court unseated her on comparatively frivolous charges, while she was acquitted on more serious charges, The Times of India newspaper described it as ‘firing the Prime Minister for a traffic ticket’. However, strikes in labor and trade unions, student unions and government unions swept across the country. Protests led by big three J.P.Narayan, Raj Narayan and Morarji Desai flooded the streets of Delhi close to the Parliament building and the PM’s residence. The great efforts of these three politicians was praised worldwide as it took over 4 years for Justice Jagmohan Lal Sinha to finally pass judgement against Indira Gandhi.
Raj Narayan was one of the pillars of Socialist movement in India along with Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia and JaiPrakash Narayan (JP). Dr. Lohia described him as “a person who has heart of a lion and practices of Gandhi”. Dr. Lohia admired him a lot, and even said that “if in India there could be just three or four persons like him, dictatorship can never shadow the democracy”. He was a great freedom fighter. He was president of Student Congress during 1942 revolution, and he lead the revolution in and around Varanasi district. The protest and revolution under his leadership on August 9, 1942, is considered as one of the best this country has ever seen.
He was so active in freedom struggle that British government wanted to get a hold of him and hence ordered, in 1942, a prize of Rs. 5000/- to anybody who can get him “Dead or Alive”. In his lifetime, he was jailed 80 times, spending a total time of nearly 17 years in jail in his lifespan of 69 years. Unfortunately, today very few people of our generation know about him. We have forgotten his ideals, thinkings and philosphies. Now the time has come to remember our great freedom fighters and use their thoughts and ideas for the sustainable development of India republic.