Press Statement
M.L. Sondhi

May 19, 1972

There is a growing feeling among the rank and file of the Jana Sangh all over the country that the time has come for the rank and file to challenge the lethargy of the ruling syndicate inside the party and rebuild the organization as a unified and buoyant movement of the Indian people.

The Jana Sangh party should emerge as a powerful force to give a fair deal to workers in the fields and factories,  to alleviate the sufferings of the middle classes and the lower middle classes, to develop the potential for human creativity of women and to end the exploitation of the Harijans.

Unfortunately the Jana Sangh leadership has not been able to give the correct lead. In place of courage and tenacity of purpose to achieve proclaimed goals, the leadership has been imposing a “tyranny of small decisions.”  Thanks to the stagnant semi-feudal trait of the ruling group, our party is associated in the public mind with the higher strata of Hindu society. If Harijans and Tribals are not attracted to the party the fault is not theirs,  it is precisely because the present leadership is influenced by the reactionary section of the Hindu caste system who can not inspire confidence in the neglected and backward sections of Hindu society. Contrary to the expectations of the rank and the file of the Jana Sangh,  the party image is moulded in an obsolete structure because of these leaders of retrograde disposition who have failed to identify themselves with the organic evolution of Hindu society.

The Jana Sangh must embark on a course of democratization, and for this the repressive control of the ruling syndicate must be shattered. There is a very hopeful possibility that if a new orientation is given to the Jana Sangh the Party will start a new chapter in the political history of India.  The morale of the rank and file can be revived if bureaucratic stagnation within the party is overcome by a commitment to “political openness.”

The Jana h must look forward into the future and make meaningful choices in the form of action programmes in spheres of (1) Economic (2) Social and (3) Foreign policy.

Economic Action Programme

The Jana Sangh must work for the involvement of the “entire people” in the process of economic development.  It must cease to be a defender of the status quo and strive for a democratic approach to planning which ensures a fair share for and all.  Hitherto the fruits of planned development have been appropriated by a narrow sections of the population in towns and villages while the great majority of the people have been deprived of the benefits of economic advancement.  It is not enough that the Jana Sangh should support a strictly enforced ceiling in agricultural holdings and a ceiling on urban property.  The Party must bend all it’s energies for compelling government to adopt a programme of development for small farmers especially in dry farming areas.  The Party must defend the rights of small and medium industry and reinforce the effort for broad basing the ownership of large scale industry. The Party should emerge as a watchdog against corruption and should sustain an organised effort to keep the bureaucracy in check.

Social Acton Programme.

The Jana Sangh must show its solicitude for the Indian people by action as a catalyst for thinking and action in the domains of social security, low–cost housing,  public health,  education and old–age care.  It should be public policy to see to it that every family in the country is assured a minimum standard of living.  To establish a new pattern,  an effective public system of distribution must be organised so that the needs of the lowest level of rural and urban society can be fulfilled.  The Jana Sangh must fight revivalism by aiming at realising a new pattern of equality in social affairs.  As a science and technology-oriented party,  the Jana Sangh will be able to work for a new awareness among the broadest masses of the Indian people.

It is an unfortunate fact that the Jana Sangh has been unable to ally the Muslims with itself and to work for their social advancement.  The Indian Muslims are caught between those who exploit their anxiety and fear and those who have tried to browbeat them by terming them as “anti-national.” The Jana Sangh must immediately enter in to a public dialogue with a view to mobilising the goodwill of Muslim and other minorities in order to strengthen their affinities with the mainstream of national life.

Foreign Policy Action Programme

The Jana Sangh must assess the significance of what has recently happened in the subcontinent and must see its prime task in the field of foreign policy to help define India’s role as a major Asian power.  It is the common interest of India,  Pakistan and Bangladesh to resist the intrusion of Super Powers in the subcontinent.  The prime requirement is the security of the nation but this does not exclude seeking a modus vivendi with Pakistan.  The Jana Sangh should work for the creation of an economic union of the subcontinent.  This does not, however, mean compromising with the military-feudal oligarchy which has had the people of Pakistan in its grip.  An agreement with Pakistan will be viable if it helps to curb the power of militarism and revanchism in Pakistan and promotes genuine democratisation and demilitarisation. Indian foreign policy should give high priority to the Indian Ocean and it should be India’s objective to keep it free from great power rivalry.  India should develop capability for guaranteeing the freedom of the Indian Ocean area. The Jana Sangh should urge the nation to lay the foundations for a positive role in Southeast Asia.  The Jana Sangh should compel Government to seriously examine whether a nuclear striking force is necessary for the new shape of Indian foreign policy.

The adoption and implementation of these three Action Programmes will help the Jana Sangh to emerge as an effective alternative to the ruling Congress Party.  In spite of its victory at the polls, the ruling party is unable to deliver the goods.  Its lapses from democratic conduct are serious enough to cause widespread concern.  The disarray of the political forces describing themselves as Communist or Socialist is well known.  The Swatantra Party has been rejected by the people and has no assurance of survival.  The rank and file workers of the Jana Sangh are prepared to continue the fight for the political and economic progress of the nation.  They are politically restive against the ruling syndicate which has become alienated from the aspirations of the rank and file and especially the youth. It is difficult for me to remain a silent spectator.  In response to communications from scores of party cadres all over the country, I have decided to take necessary steps to contest the post of President-ship of the All India Jana Sangh Party and to mobilise opinion within the party and outside to defeat the nominee of the Syndicate, the ruling coterie.  I am particularly pained to see that some of the finest workers of the Party are either being eased out or hounded out of the party, by the ruling coterie.  The time has come therefore to give the widest publicity to the thinking among the rank and file so that the potential strength of the workers of the party may express itself in democratic choice.

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