Deen Dayal Upadhyaya

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In this contest, Upadhyaya also wrote: "The Congress majority in many states came to end in many states, but except Delhi and Madras no single party could muster majority. As a result, the era of coalition governments has come into being.

The objective of these alliances is to somehow cobble a majority in order to remain in power. There is no need for any party to change its thinking or policies. Nor should they take any decision to remain together on the basis of a principled stand. This is a practical issue. In the present circumstances, the various political parties preferred to form alliances to allow the imposition of President's Rule and formation of Congress Government later. These governments have been formed on the basis of such thinking and they will continue as long as there is willingness to run the administration on practical considerations.''

He was not very enthusiastic about the coalition governments. He, therefore, urged his workers: "…A1l over, there is a concept of coalition governments. I want the Congress rule to end in all states, but we should not take a step that is against the healthy traditions of democracy''

As General Secretary, this was Upadhyaya's message to his workers and other parties. But no one heeded his advice as became clear from the events that followed. Neither his own party nor the other political parties paid any attention to what he said. Consequently, the conduct of all our political leaders after the fourth general elections was against all the healthy conventions of democracy.

The 14th annual session of Bharatiya Jan Sangh was held at Calicut. Deendayal Upadhyaya was elected President. Sundersingh Bhandari was elected General Secretary of the party in his place.

President of Bharatiya Jan Sangh

A new beginning was made in respect of Presidentship of the party after the vijayawada session in 1965. Bachhraj Vyas was elected President, Balraj Madhok was elected to the post in 1966 and Upadhyaya became President at the 1967 historic session. Upadhyaya's influence as well as that of Jan Sangh was at its zenith at that time.

The 14th annual session was held on Dec. 29, 30 and 31, 1967 under Upadhyaya's Presidentship, He was murdered at midnight on Feb. 10, 1968 at Mughalsarai. He was the Jan Sangh President for only 43 days. The most important task accomplished by him during those 43 days was the address he delivered and this can be studied to obtain a fair picture of the RSS, Jan Sangh and Upadhyaya's thinking. Every address is delivered in a given context and the assessment of the 1967 general elections was the background to Upadhyaya's address.

Upadhyaya considered the most significant results of socio-political efforts after Independence as generating a political awakening among the masses. He said: "It is not proper to use it as the medium of short-term political gains.''
Regarding the prevailing trends, he said: "August-September 1965 when the brave Indian Army gave evidence of its gallantry and victory over Pakistan, was the beginning of a new era. There was a marked shift in attitudes and that was a time of new problems coming up... The first such problem was that of coalition governments, the second was that of constitutional model and the third related to economy and security.''

(A) Governors

The position of the Governors became crucial in the unstable conditions following coalition governments. Under the cover of biased attitudes of Governors, there was a demand for elected Governors from some quarters. "I (Upadhyaya) do not think it proper. This is no cure for our malady; this will lead to increased centralisation. The Governor is a constitutional head except for certain occasions. He should not become a pawn in state politics, nor should he become a stamp of the Centre." Upadhyaya suggested: "It would be better to have Governors from among the retired judges of the Supreme Court rather than defeated politicians and retired bureaucrats."

(B) Coalition Governments

“Coalition governments have indeed provided an alternative to the Congress. But it is not possible for them to provide an alternative to its policies and programmes, nor were they formed to fulfil this objective... If some sort of realistic and political gains emerge out of such coalitions, that would be useful. These coalition governments have taken an admirable step towards ending political untouchability and isolation... Whatever the future of these coalitions, I wish that we would not lose such an opportunity."

(C) Need to Develop New Traditions

"Because of political instability that the coalition governments have given rise to, some people are advocating giving up the parliamentary and shifting to the presidential form of government... It is true that such traditions were born of history in Britain and America. Instead of following them, we should evolve our own democratic forms, We have been following the parliamentary form of government in one shape or another for the last fifty years. We should mould it according to the changed circumstances."
"For instance, we can evolve a tradition in which no Council of Ministers can resign till a vote of no-confidence is passed against it in the State Assembly. We can evolve such a tradition in this direction that the members of the majority party in the Assembly should request the Governor to call a meeting of the Assembly."

(D) Defections

According to Upadhyaya, ninety-nine percent of defectors either joined the other parties after defecting from the Congress or left the Congress to join other political parties. In order to tackle this menace, we should resort to the court of public opinion instead of legislation. He said: "The political parties should accept a code of conduct which would curb defections to a large extent. Instead of electing an individual on the British pattern, the electoral process should be geared to electing a party. This would save us from many ills besides defections from a particular party. Like West Germany, we can combine both the traditions. But the more judicious solution to this problem would be that as and when the political parties get organised on the basis of principles and policies, they will become strong and by providing political education to the masses, they will have them ponder over their programmes before casting their votes. This would help reduce the tendency for defections."

(E) Unitary Rule

It is essential so as not to endanger national unity that we should not have a unitary constitution. We should provide autonomy to states and decentralist our fiscal and other resources. The states are largely dependent on the centre for their finances. The division between rights and responsibilities has been such that the complete responsibility for public welfare and development is on the states while the flexible and profitable sources of revenue are with the Centre. According to Upadhyaya, a practical middle path should be formed without amending the Constitution. He suggested that the Finance Commission, instead of being constituted every five years, should be a permanent body.

The present dependence of states on the Centre is of their own making besides the constitutional provisions. Upadhyaya thought it was improper. "In the fiscal policies of many states, there is more of political sloganeering instead of fiscal policies and administrative responsibilities. Land revenue, sales tax, income tax, etc., are areas in which the states should act in a more practical and responsible manner."

Upadhyaya demanded that "one tax commission should be appointed which, keeping in mind economic development, capital formation, public welfare, inequalities and decentralised administration, should evolve a comprehensive tax structure and allocate the share of various taxes.''

(F) Distracting Issues

"Today, when there is an urgent need to bring about radical changes in our economy, we devote all our time and energies on issues which, though relevant, are not important enough. The issue of privy purses, discussion on the Hazari Report, the nationalisation of insurance and banking, etc., are considered the burning and much-debated issues today, but they do not come anywhere in importance to the alarming food situation in the country, decline in production, increasing unemployment and rising prices. There may be discussion and debate on such issues but there should be no clear-cut decision on resolving them. But the entire focus is to divert public attention from the more pressing issues and exercise political pressure on them.

"We always talk of the lack of resources. I do not believe that we lack resources in the country. We possess all the human, natural and fiscal resources in abundant measure. What we require is to plan according to the available resources for development."

(G) The Question of Language

Language was such an issue on which people said the Jan Sangh had changed its stand after passing the Calicut Resolution. Probably this was the first occasion when Jan Sangh, which had forcefully agitated for accepting Hindi as the undisputed language of everyday communication throughout the country and for the removal of English, had changed its tone in the South. Upadhyaya said in this context: "Jan Sangh does not favour any such move that would deprive the non-Hindi speaking people. The Jan Sangh, therefore, demands that all the exams of the Union Public Service Commission should also be held in regional languages and there should be no compulsion for learning a particular language for recruitment. Those who wish to use English during the period of transition should be allowed to do so."

This was a multidimensional and detailed address which Upadhyaya delivered in the hope of awakening the same political awareness among the masses that he talked of in the beginning. "We should beware of such people as see a Communist hand behind every agitation and advise the Government to suppress it. Mass movements are natural and essential in changing times. They are, in reality, a sign of social awakening... We should, therefore, move along and lead such movements. Those who are in favour of mainlining status quo in political, economic and social circles are the ones who are creating such an apprehension today. We regret that we cannot cooperate with them. Such people wish to stop the cycle of time. They wise to delay India's destiny, but this is not possible.”

"We are inspired by the pride in our past, but we do not consider it the zenith of India's national life. We have a realistic approach towards the present. We have dreams for the future, but we are not in slumber. We are karmayogis determined to realise our dreams. We are devotees of the timeless-present, unstable-present and an eternal future that are a part of our culture... We have faith in our ultimate victory and we are prepared to make any sacrifices for it."
Deendayal Upadhyaya had raised hopes for the future when he became President of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh. His realistic approach to problems was lauded by the press at the Calicut session. He did not wish to become President of his party, but he was prevailed upon to accept it.

(Excerpts from the book -" Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya" written by Dr. Mahesh Chandra Sharma)

Compiled by Amarjeet Singh, Research Associate & Programme Coordinator, Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation, 9, Ashok Road, New Delhi - 110001
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