The noise of commission taking in Bofors which ousted Rajiv Gandhi from power. lok sabha election 2024 bofors

Rajiv Gandhi contested for the first time in the 1981 Amethi Lok Sabha by-election.

The issue of corruption is creating excitement in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. This is not the first election when there are attacks on this question. But this is definitely the first time when, unlike previous occasions, the ruling party at the Center is strongly sieging the opposition on this issue. This opportunity has been provided to the ruling party by the regional parties which hold the government of some states while being in the opposition alliance or staying away from it.

Although in every election there has been a barrage of allegations against the ruling party regarding increasing corruption, but the elections of 1989 and 2014 are especially remembered on this question. In these elections, the soot of corruption played an important role in the departure of the then governments from power.

The news of Bofors scam created a stir

Riding on the sympathy wave generated by the assassination of Indira Gandhi in 1984, Rajiv Gandhi wiped out the opposition by securing 403 seats in the Lok Sabha. But with the resignation of Vishwanath Pratap Singh from the post of minister on 10 April 1987, the problems of the Rajiv Gandhi government started increasing. Some decisions of Vishwanath Pratap Singh, first as Finance Minister and then as Defense Minister, had angered Rajiv Gandhi. After the resignation, the message went out among the public that Vishwanath Pratap had to lose his ministerial post due to the anti-corruption campaign in his departments.

On 16 April 1987, Swedish Radio exposed the scam and kickbacks in the Bofors gun purchase. Rajiv Gandhi denied this in Parliament on 20 April. Then in this episode, Chitra Subramaniam’s reports in Hindu newspaper created a stir. The report against CAG created more problems for the government. The continuous uproar by the opposition in the Parliament and the mass resignation of the opposition MPs filled the gap.

Amitabh Bachchan renounces politics

On the other hand, while addressing a big Congress rally on 16 May 1987 in which Vishwanath Pratap was among the audience, Rajiv Gandhi was saying, “When was India’s independence snatched away? When traitors like Mir Jafar and Raja Jaichand joined hands with foreign powers. You should be cautious of such people, they are selling the interests of the country by joining hands with foreign powers.” Not only to the present audience but later the message went far through the media that Raja Manda (Vishwanath Pratap Singh) is the target in the guise of Raja Jaichand.

Apparently, this was an internal fight of the Congress in which Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and Vishwanath Pratap Singh, who was his trusted minister till then, were face to face. But the heat of Bofors started engulfing Rajiv Gandhi, his in-laws, relatives and friends also. Superstar Amitabh Bachchan was a member of the Lok Sabha from Allahabad in those days. He was counted among the family friends of Rajiv Gandhi. Amitabh Bachchan lost his courage when his and brother Ajitabh’s name cropped up among those who took part in the Bofors Commission. Despite Rajiv Gandhi’s refusal, Amitabh Bachchan resigned from the membership of Lok Sabha and retired from politics.

He is not a king but a beggar, this is the echo of India’s destiny.

By-election was held in 1988 for the vacant Allahabad Lok Sabha seat due to Amitabh’s resignation. By this time, Vishwanath Pratap Singh’s travels to various parts of the country and his anti-corruption campaign had made him quite popular. The slogan “He is not a king but a fakir, it is the destiny of India” was echoed everywhere. His image had been established as the most vocal voice and influential face of the opposition against the government. He was the candidate of his organization Jan Morcha in Allahabad by-election. The entire opposition was behind him.

Congress had made Sunil Shastri, son of former Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, its candidate against him. Despite the combined strength of the Congress governments at the Center and the state and using every election trick, the Congress candidate had to face a crushing defeat. In this by-election, Vishwanath Pratap Singh got 2,02,996 votes and Sunil Shastri got 92,245 votes.

Allahabad by-election rang alarm bells

The results of Allahabad by-election were an alarm bell for Congress. This result also gave a lesson and message to the scattered opposition that to oust Congress from power, they will have to come together and accept Vishwanath Pratap Singh as the leader. Bitter memories of the disintegration of the Janata Party just a decade ago were stopping these parties from moving forward. But as there was no other option, a temporary meeting took place once again.

Secular parties formed Janata Dal. Made pre-poll alliance with BJP and Left parties. Vishwanath Pratap Singh avoided BJP flags and platforms. But this was a strategic bet, where both had to make each other’s vote bank in their favor without being close to each other.

The issue of corruption weighed heavily on everyone.

In the 1989 Lok Sabha elections, it is not that other issues were not discussed or questions of ethnicity, religious mobilization and regionalism did not emerge. But all this was overshadowed by the ongoing anti-corruption campaign led by Vishwanath Pratap Singh. The Bofors monster that came out in April 1987 was still in full form two years later at the time of Lok Sabha elections in May 1989. It continued to stalk the Gandhi family and Congress for years.

Of course, nothing could be proved on this issue, but it proved very costly for Rajiv Gandhi and Congress. The alleged Bofors brokerage destroyed Rajiv Gandhi’s Mr. Clean image. Just five years ago he had registered the biggest victory in the electoral history of the Lok Sabha. He was out of power in 1989. Congress got only 197 seats. Janata Dal won 143 seats, BJP 85 and Left Front 45 seats. The next Janata Dal government at the Center was led by Vishwanath Pratap Singh, which had external support from the BJP and the Left Front and some other parties.

Anna movement embarrassed UPA government

The issue of corruption once again arose loudly in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections. UPA was in power under the leadership of Congress since 2004. But this time, not from within the government, but the mass movement led by social worker Anna Hazare tarnished the image of the ruling party. By this time, social media and channels had expanded significantly. Through all this, the echo of scams like 2G and Commonwealth and allegations against ministers crossed the cities and towns and reached far away villages.

The report against CAG and the loss of Rs 1 lakh 76 thousand crore to the government exchequer further confirmed the allegations. The movement had the support of the Sangh Parivar. AAP Party, which emerged from the womb of Anna movement, also contested the 2014 elections. But apart from all this, the emergence of Narendra Modi on the stage of national politics left everyone behind. Voters, fed up with the experiment of coalition governments for the last 25 years, paved the way for a stable government with a clear majority at the Center by giving 282 seats to BJP alone.

Also read: Can the party be punished for not fulfilling the promises of the election manifesto?

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Brijesh Pratap
Brijesh Pratap

Hi, I am Brijesh Pratap, a content creator and WordPress website designer, I have been in content writing for more than 3 years. I specialize in creating engaging articles. As a WordPress expert, I design websites for businesses and bloggers, aiming for both visual appeal and impactful content. Join me on this journey of creative exploration and effective online solutions.

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