February 11, 1981, Forty Years Ago: Govt Seeks Out Desai

Morarji Desai is likely to make an effort to bring the leaders of the Assam movement back to the negotiating table to discuss the issue of the foreign nationals in the state with the central government. The possibility has emerged after Desai had a meeting with Home Minister Giani Zail Singh at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi. The former prime minister called on the home minister to discuss the problem which has defied a solution for more than 18 months. Singh had called Desai for a meeting after the former prime minister had said that he had a possible solution to the stalemate in mind. The two leaders met for over an hour. According to government sources, Desai is open to mediating the talks.

CPM’s Fears

The Marxists fear that the Centre — which is hatching a “conspiracy” against the governments of West Bengal, Tripura and Kerala — might “organise a coup against democracy”. The fear has been voiced by the CPM, which also finds the Centre’s postures threatening to extinguish all fundamental rights. What adds to the threat, according to the party’s politburo member M Basavapunnaiah, is that the prime minister adds her voice to the threats issued against the governments in the aforementioned states by Union ministers and Congress-I members.

PM Berates Publisher

The organisers of a function to launch a book at the PM’s house were in for a rude shock. Prime Minister Indira Gandhi berated them for using her name to publicise the book, My Truth. Mrs Gandhi, who curtly refused to autograph the book, said “these are my words, not a book by me”. The book comprising Mrs Gandhi’s interviews was originally written in French by the Indo-French author, Emmanuel Pouchapadass, and published by the French publisher Editions Stock. A spokesperson of the Indian publisher, Vision Books, said My Truth is the English translation of the French work.

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