ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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From 50 Years Ago: Swatantrata Party.

Editorial from Volume XI, No 23, June 6, 1959.

Shri C Rajagopalachari, the elder statesman, is evidently not inclined to rest. It was not so long ago that he declared that he would abstain from making controversial statements which were supposed to cause confusion in the public mind. But now he has taken an almost head-long plunge into active politics by launching a new political party. According to earlier inten-tion, the party was to be known as the Con-servative Party, and it was to act as a ‘brake’ on the Congress. However, on second thoughts, it has come to be labelled as the ‘Swatantra Party’. ‘A group of peasant leaders’, sitting in a hotel at Madras, are reported to have decided on the new name while drawing up a mani-festo for the party. Why there should have been so sudden a change of label is not clear parti-cularly when Shri Rajagopalachari is reported to have said at the meeting that the original name of ‘Conservative Party’ had endeared itself all the more to him because Pandit Nehru had not liked it. “If he abhors the word conser-vative, I abhor his socialist slogans,” the sponsor of the new party is said to have snapped. But if still the old name was dropped, it can only mean that his supporters, if not he himself, have had doubts about its possible appeal to the people. Pandit Nehru too, referring to the new party, had expressed a similar doubt. As a democrat, he could have no objection to another opposi-tion party emerging. What he essentially felt was whether a conservative creed could attract people in a period of dynamic change.

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