Sunday, July 14, 2024

June: The Month to Relive Indira Gandhi’s Election Fraud of 1975

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India as a country has faced its fair share of scandals and scams. The Indian political arena is filled with mud-slinging, back-stabbing, and horse-trading politicians. Indians have a blasé attitude towards the politicians and their underhand ways to sway support or entice votes. However, the biggest and first political scandal of independent India occurred in 1975 when Indira Gandhi’s and the Congress‘ victory was set aside by the Allahabad High Court. The Allahabad HC found Mrs. Indira Gandhi guilty of electoral fraud(Indira Gandhi’s Election Fraud) on 12th June 1975.

Priya on Twitter: "Indira Gandhi was guilty of illegal campaign & banned for six years from politics by Allahabad court. #KnowYourLegacy @gauravbh @TajinderBagga Opposition must introspect who claims about "EVM tampering" https://t.co/KRYrcTTC05" /
PC Twitter @priyaakulkarni2

The year 1975 marked a significant turning point in Indian political history, as it witnessed a grave incident that shook the foundations of democracy. Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, orchestrated an electoral fraud(Indira Gandhi’s Election Fraud) that tarnished the principles of free and fair elections. This article sheds light on the events leading up to the fraud, the political figures involved, and the aftermath that left a lasting impact on the Indian political landscape.

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Events that led up to the 1971 General Elections

Indira Gandhi was elected into the executive body of the Congress Party in 1955. She rode the wave of her father’s name and fame into important ministerial posts in 1964. The then Prime Minister Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri was the golden boy in the eyes of the Indian public. In 1966 PM Shastri Ji died on foreign soil, foreign reports allege that he was poisoned. Mrs. Indira Gandhi allegedly suppressed all news and investigations related to Shastri Ji’s death. Under her presidency, the Congress won their 1967 general elections by a narrow margin. In 1971 India was approaching the general elections again. In order to ensure a victory for Congress, Indira Gandhi resorted to measures that boosted her public image. While the Congress won a resounding victory in the 1971 elections, the opposition parties cried foul and launched an investigation against Mrs. Gandhi.

The Election Fraud Unveiled

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Mrs. Indira Gandhi’s appointment as the Prime Minister of India was greatly opposed by the opposition members. However, she turned a deaf ear to all criticism. She allowed the Indian Army to invade Pakistan and returned all the land acquired during the war. Surprisingly, she forgot to ask Pakistan to return land captured in Kashmir. Her mismanagement allowed for a bloody separation of Bangladesh from Pakistan. Her short-sightedness allowed Bangladesh to view India as an opportunist neighbor. 

In 1975 the electoral fraud orchestrated by Indira Gandhi’s Congress Party came to light. The Congress as the ruling party engaged in a series of unlawful activities to ensure a favorable outcome for Mrs. Gandhi and the party.

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They tampered with voter lists, rigged polling booths, and manipulated the counting process. Key individuals, including party workers, election officials, and local leaders, played crucial roles in executing these fraudulent practices. Moreover, their collusion highlighted the corruption and the erosion of democratic values within the Congress Party. The revelation of the electoral fraud sparked widespread outrage among the opposition parties and the public at large. The incident brought into question the credibility and integrity of the Indian electoral system.

The common man lost faith in Indira Gandhi and the Congress. Consequently, several protests erupted across the country demanding a re-election of the government. The electoral fraud case was placed before the Supreme Court of India. The supreme judiciary declared Indira Gandhi’s election to be invalid and removed from office. The court even banned her from holding a political office for 6 years. Thereafter, Mrs. Indira Gandhi enforced a nationwide state emergency the very next day. The emergency was supposed to last 6 months to rid Indi of internal terror threats. However, it resulted in 3 years of curtailed restrictions on civil liberties, press freedom, and crackdowns against the Congress’ political oppositions.

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Lessons for the Indian Democracy

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The month of June should remind all Indians of the 1975 electoral fraud case. Indians must not let time wash away the horrors that occurred during Jun1975. The incident highlights the importance of upholding democratic principles in words and deeds. It underlines the need for strong institutions to safeguard the integrity of elections. The electoral fraud case of Mrs. Indira Gandhi exposes the thirst for power of the Gandhi family. It defines the dire consequences a nation faces when its leaders prioritize personal gain over the welfare of the nation.

The electoral fraud of 1975 starring Indira Gandhi and the Congress Party is the darkest chapter in Indian democracy. It reminds Indians that the strength of a democracy lies in its ability to hold leaders accountable and protect the rights and voices of its citizens. The current Indian democracy still faces the demons of fraudulent voting systems as well as corrupt officials and politicians. In addition, misinformation campaigns and minority appeasement strategies have also become the heart of Indian elections. Indian voters must deeply understand the consequences of every vote they cast. They must understand the thirst for power and lack of Indian roots in certain politicians. They must acknowledge the legacy each dynastic politician brings to the table and how it affects India on the whole. 

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