Indira Gandhi was relieved she lost 1977 election: Ex-aide
An intelligence report predicting a majority for her prompted former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to go for polls in 1977 after imposing Emergency and she felt relieved after losing the elections, her former close aide RK Dhawan said on Tuesday.india Updated: Jun 24, 2015 12:10 IST
An intelligence report predicting a majority for her prompted former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to go for polls in 1977 after imposing Emergency and she felt relieved after losing the elections, her former close aide RK Dhawan said on Tuesday.
He also said that it was the then West Bengal chief minister Siddhartha Shankar Ray who was the "architect" of Emergency and who prevailed upon Gandhi to take some drastic steps to control the situation prevailing in the country.
Dhawan also said that Indira Gandhi never felt that Sanjay Gandhi was responsible in any way for her defeat and that she was not aware of her son's activities during Emergency and no complaints against him ever reached her.
According to Gandhi's former aide, Sanjay was propped up by some chief ministers and bureaucrats to make him feel more "powerful" than his mother by saying that he attracted more crowds and this reached his head.
"I conveyed to her while she was having dinner that she has lost. There was a sense of relief on her face. There was no sadness or wrinkle on her face. She instead said, 'Thank God, I'll have time to myself'," Dhawan, her then private secretary, told Karan Thapar on India Today television.
Dhawan claimed that history is being "very unfair" to her and leaders are trying to "denigrate" her for their selfish ends. He said she was a nationalist and had great love for the people of the country.
"She believed the IB report that she would get a majority. It was PN Dhar who handed over an Intelligence Bureau report that prompted her to declare elections. Even S S Ray predicted she would get 340 seats," he said.
Dhawan said Ray had written to Gandhi long before the Emergency suggesting some "drastic action" to be taken. He also said that the then President Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed had no reservations while signing the proclamation for imposition of Emergency.
Dhawan revealed that Indira Gandhi's first response on hearing the Allahabad High Court order in June 1975 striking down her election was to quit and she dictated a resignation letter.
"It was typed but it was never signed. This is because her Cabinet came to see her and insisted that she must not resign," he said.
On Sanjay's wife Maneka Gandhi, now with BJP and a Cabinet Minister, he said she was fully aware of everything Sanjay did during the Emergency, as she went with him everywhere.
"Maneka Gandhi knew what Sanjay was doing. She had full knowledge," he said, adding that she cannot plead ignorance or innocence now.