Q. 1. Analyse the circumstances that favoured Indira Gandhi to become Prime Minister after the death of Lal Bahadur Shastri. Mention any four achievements of Indira Gandhi that made her popular as a Prime Minister.
Ans. (i) Indira Gandhi was the daughter of popular ex-Prime Minister J. L. Nehru.
(i) She had become Congress President in 1958.
(ii) She had been Union Minister for Information in Shastri’s Cabinet from 1964-66.
(iii) She had given a positive famous slogan “Garibi Hatao”.
(iv) She had focused on the growth of the public sector.
(v) She had imposed a ceiling on the rural land holdings and urban property to remove disparities in income and opportunity.
(vi) She had abolished the princely privileges to prevail the principles of equality and social and economic justice.
(vii) Decisive victory in the 1971’s India – Pakistan was soared Indira Gandhi’s popularity.
(viii) First nuclear explosion in 1974 also increased her popularity. India termed it a peaceful explosion.
Q. 2. What is referred to as sign of Maturity of Indian Democracy? Explain the circumstances that led to it since Nehru’s death.
Ans. The decade of 1960s is referred to as the‘dangerous decade’ in Indian politics. The reasons for this being no solutions found for poverty, inequality, regionalism, communalism, etc. The disintegration of country and disintegration of democracy were looking as the likely events. Political instability arose after demise of Jawaharlal Nehru with two questions in place:
i. ‘Who after Nehru?’
ii. ‘What after Nehru?
Lal Bahadur Shastri was unopposed and unanimously chosen as the leader of Congress Parliamentary Party and became the second Prime Minister of India (1964-1966). Prior to becomin Prime Minster, he was a cabinet member for three years and belonged to the state f Uttar Pradesh. India faced the after effects of the economic crisis that arose during the Sino-Indian War of 1962. India defeated Pakistan under his courageous leadership in 1964. His tenure also witnessed many droughts and famines making the lives of the farmers miserable. This led to the criticism of his slogan ‘Jai Jawan Jai Kisan’ as the problems of the farmers remained unsolved. He passed away while his visit to Tashkent (erstwhile USSR) to sign peace treaty with Pakistan. The untimely demise of Shastri created leadership crisis again in Congress. This time the leadership was contested by two – Indira Gandhi and Morarji Desai. After holding elections by secret ballot, Indira Gandhi was elected as the next leader of Congress party. This transition is referred to as ‘Sign of Maturity of India’s Democracy’.
Q. 3. Read the following passage and answer the questions below:
The year 1967 is considered as a landmark year in India’s political and electoral history. The Congress party remained a dominant force throughout the country from 1952 onwards. This trend was to undergo significant changes with the 1967 elections. It was in the context of heightened popular discontent and the polarisation of popular forces that the fourth general elections of the Lok Sabha and State Assemblies were held in February 1967.The results jolted the Congress at both the national and state levels. Many contemporary political observers described the elections as a political earthquake.
(a) Analyse the socio-economic and political context of fourth general elections in India.
(b) Why the 1967 general elections were described as a ‘political earthquake’ by many political observers?
Ans. (a) (i) This period was fraught with grave economic crisis resulting in successive failure of monsoons, widespread drought, and decline in agricultural production, serious food shortage, depletion of foreign exchange reserves with sharp rise in military expenditure and diversion of resources from planning and economic development.
(ii) The economic situation triggered off price rise.People started protesting against the increase in the prices of essential commodities, food scarcity, growing unemployment and the overall economic condition in the country. Bandhs and hartals were frequently called across the country.
(iii) O pposition parties were in the forefront of organising public protests and pressurizing the government. Parties opposed to the Congress realised that the division of their votes kept Congress in power. Thus parties with different ideologies and programmes got together to form anti-Congress fronts. This was called non- Congressism.
(b) (i) Many political observers described the election results as a ‘political earthquake’ because the Congress did manage to get a majority in the Lok Sabha but with its lowest tally of seats and share of votes since 1952.
(ii) At the state level, the Congress lost elections in seven states. In two other states it could not form the government due to defection.
Q. 4. State which of these were reasons for the defeat of the Congress in 1967. Give reasons for your answer.
(a) The absence of a charismatic leader in the Congress party.
(b) Split within the Congress party.
(c) Increased mobilisation of regional, ethnic and communal groups.
(d) Increasing unity among non-Congress parties.
(e) Internal differences within the Congress party.
Ans. The various reasons are deliberated hereunder:
(a) The Congress party had many charismatic and experienced leaders in the party at that time. So, the absence of a charismatic leader in the Congress party is not a reason for the defeat of the Congress in 1967.
(b) Split within the Congress party naturally divided the electorate mandate to Congress between the two newly formed parties each having a share of the original electoral mandate. So, split within the Congress party natural played a vital role in defeat of party in the 1967 elections.
(c) The period witnessed the emergence of many regional parties like Akali Dal, DMK, etc. This naturally took away a share of the electoral mandate in those respective regions from the Congress party. As a result, the party was deprived of majority at the Centre and loss of power in many of the states.
(d) There was not much national coalition among non-Congress parties at that time. The coalition was only at state level and played a role in defeat of Congress only at the state level.
(e) Internal differences within the Congress party naturally weakened the unity of the party. This disunity was also felt by the electorate and resulted in a decrease in electoral base of the party.
Q. 5. Examine the major changes that the country witnessed at the time of fourth general elections in 1967.
Ans. The General Elections of 1967 were the first elections contested by Congress without Nehru. The results of the elections were coined as ‘political earthquake’ as the popularity of Congress had reduced by a large scale. Though, Congress managed to secure majority at Centre but with lowest number of seats in comparison to all three previous general elections. At state level, Congress lost majority to local parties and non-Congress parties which was a blow. Strong Congress leaders like S. K. Patil, K. Kamraj, K. B. Sahay, etc. were defeated in their constituencies. These elections gave rise to a new form of government – the coalition government. In Bihar, it was named as Samyukt Vidhayak Dal – formed by coalition of Samyukt Socialist Party, Bharatiya Kranti Dal, Jana Sangh and Praja Socialist Party.In Punjab, it was named as Popular United Front – formed by coalition of Shiromani Akali Dal and Sant Fateh Singh group. These elections also witnessed defections by Congress legislators mainly in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Haryana. Some of the defections were so frequent that these were nicknamed as “Aaya Ram, Gaya Ram”, after the defections shown by Gaya Lal from Haryana.
Q. 6. Examine the three main reasons responsible for the split in Congress during 1969.
Discuss the major issues that led to the formal split of the Congress Party in 1969
Ans. (i) Left wing orientation programme of Indira. She got the Congress Working Committee to adopt a Ten Point Programme in May 1967. This programme included social control of banks, nationalisation of General Insurance, and ceiling on urban property.
(ii) Selection of V.V. Giri as the President against Syndicate interest towards N. Sanjeeva Reddy.
(iii) Abolition of privy purse.
(iv) Side-lined Syndicate – In November 1969, the Congress group led by the ‘Syndicate’ came to be referred to as the Congress (Organisation) and the group led by Indira Gandhi came to be called the Congress (Requisitionists).
Q. 7. Read carefully the passage given below and answer the following questions:
The New Congress had something that its big opponents lacked – it had an issue, a positive agenda and a slogan. The Grand Alliance did not have a coherent political programme. Indira Gandhi said that the opposition alliance had only one common programme ‘Indira Hatao’.In contrast to this, she put forward a positive programme captured in the famous slogan ‘Garibi Hatao’.
(i) Which Congress is being referred to as ‘the New Congress’?
(ii) Highlight any two steps taken by Indira Gandhi to remove poverty?
(iii) How far is it justified to call the ‘opposition alliance’ as the Grand Alliance?
Ans. (i) The Congress is referred to as the new Congress.
(ii) The two steps taken by Indira Gandhi were growth of public sector and removal of gap between income and opportunity.
(iii) The opposition alliance was truly a Grand Alliance as there had never been an alliance of so many political parties.
Q. 8. Read the passage and answer the questions below:
“…… Indira Gandhi changed the Congress into highly centralised and undemocratic party organisation, from the earlier federal, democratic and ideological formation that Nehru had led…… But this …… could not have happened had not Indira Gandhi changed the entire nature of politics. This new, populist, politics turned political ideology…… into a mere electoral discourse, use of various slogans not meant to be translated into government policies…… During its great electoral victories in early 1970s, amidst the celebration, the Congress party as a political organisation died……”. -Sudipta Kaviraj
(i) What according to the author is the difference between the strategies of Nehru and Indira Gandhi?
(ii) Why does the author say that the Congress party ‘died’ in the seventies?
(iii) In what way, did the change in the Congress party affect other political parties also?
Ans. (i) While Nehru led Congress as a democratic and ideological party, Indira turned Congress into an undemocratic and centralised party.
(ii) Here, when the author says that the Congress party died in the seventies, he meant that the newly revived Congress was totally different from the original setup and ideology of the Congress. In this way, the original Congress had ended, and the new Congress was just the namesake, but the ideology was totally different.
(iii) The change in Congress led to change in ideology and formation of coalitions by the other political parties.