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From the archives of the Hindustan Times: January 20

Important and interesting stories from HT chronicles.

chronicles Updated: Jan 20, 2020 14:39 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
(HT File)

Indira Gandhi to be Prime Minister (1966)

New Delhi- Mrs. Indira Gandhi was today (January 19) elected leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party and thus placed in position to become the country’s Prime Minister.

She won a convincing victory over her rival, Mr. Morarji Desai, when she polled 355 votes against his 169. Of the 526 votes cast, two were declared invalid.

Even though her success was virtually a foregone conclusion, thousands had assembled outside Parliament House since the early hours of the morning to watch the leaders arrive and to get a vague sense of association with the historic event.

Many Chief Ministers and State leaders, who had no “franchise” in today’s election, stood around for hours on the lawn surrounding the Central Hall of the building where the party meeting was held.

Immediately after the result of the election was announced, Congress President Kamaraj and Prime Minister Nanda offered Mrs. Gandhi their congratulations.

Both talked of the difficult problems confronting the country and the enormity of the burdens that the new leader would have to carry. Mr. Kamaraj hoped Mrs. Gandhi would provide an efficient administration and find solutions for the various problems. Mr. Nanda similarly hoped that the bitterness created by the contest would disappear now that the leader was chosen.

There were prolonged cheers when Mr. Desai rose from his front-row seat and walked to the stage to felicitate the new leader. He offered her his co-operation “consistent with my self-respect and the interests of the country.”

4-hour proceedings

Besides offering her his co-operation, Mr. Desai made a not-too-oblique reference to the procedure followed by the Congress President in sponsoring her candidature. He hoped that in future on such occasions an “atmosphere of fearlessness will be created and cultivated.”

China scraps Presidency (1975)


Tokyo- China today (January 19) announced its new Constitution, eliminating the job of National President and thus cutting away a possible power base for challenging Communist Party Chairman Mao Tse-tung.

The new Constitution, broadcast by the official Hsinhua news agency, also specifically puts command of the armed forces in the party Chairman’s hands instead of having them under the President.

The late Defence Minister Lin Piao, accused of trying to overthrow Mao in a coup, has been denounced for his efforts to become President before his alleged coup attempt. He also has been denounced for opposing Mao’s concept that “the party controls the gun.”

Other changes from the first Constitution of the People’s Republic in 1954 make Mao’s thought one of the theoretical bases for guiding the country and require government workers to study it, declare that China will never be a super power, fit the revolutionary committees born in the late 1960s into the formal State structure and give Chinese the right to strike.

In addition, the new Constitution allows commune members to farm some small plots for their personal needs as long as commune work is given first place, and allows workers to “engage in individual labour involving no exploitation of others while they are being guided toward socialist collectivisation.

The Constitution was adopted last week by China’s Fourth National People’s Congress, the first in 10 years. The Congress also reappointed ailing Prime Minister Chou-En-lai and filled Lin’s old Defence Minister post with one of Mr. Chou’s closest friends Mr. Yeh Chien-ying.

In a separate meeting of the party Central committee another old associate of Mr. Chou Vice-Prime Minister Teng Hsiao-ping was raised to the party vice-Chairmanship and membership on the nine-man party politburo standing committee.

India shot out for lowest total on home soil; England win third Test and series (1977)


Madras- India suffered one of the worst humiliations when they lost to England by 200 runs on the last day of the third Test at the Chepauk stadium here today (January 19).

The victory has enabled Tony Greig and his men to retain the rubber and the remaining two Tests at Bangalore and Bombay are robbed of all the charm. Never before have India suffered such crushing defeats in a home series. India were beaten 5-0 and 3 -0 in the 1989 and 1974 series but those were on the English soil. And the superstition that the Chepauk strip is a lucky pitch for India was blown off by Greig who went about his task till the last nail was driven into the coffin.

It took Derek Underwood, Bob Willis and John Lever just 17.3 overs and 83 minutes to wrap up India’s second innings this morning. India were bundled out for a disgraceful 83 their lowest against England in a home series. The previous lowest by India was 121 in the Kanpur Test in 1951.

It was once again rank had batting and gutless display that led to such a catastrophe. Wickets fell like the proverbial nine pins and all the drama was over in a little more than an hour.

India, needing 284 for victory, resumed at their overnight score of 45 for 3 with Brijesh Patel as Viswanath’s partner in the morning. Greig brought Bob Willis from the pavilion end and Derek Underwood, after completing his yesterday’s unfinished over, continued from the other end. The two between them destroyed the Indian batting. Brijesh Patel seemed to be shaping well but a flier pitched outside the off stump forced him to chase it needlessly and Chris old brought off a good catch in the third slip.