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Watch: Historical speech by Atal Bihari Vajpayee during the 1977 victory rally after the defeat of Indira Gandhi after Emergency

Atal Bihari Vajpayee compared the defeat of Indira Gandhi to a 'peaceful revolution' and 'public overthrowing' of a government through constitutional means.

Following the defeat of Indira Gandhi in the 1977 Lok Sabha polls and the resounding victory of the Janata Party, former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee had addressed a rally in New Delhi.

At the very onset of his speech, he said, “We had nurtured a dream. We had instilled hope in our hearts… We continued to struggle for it. Today, it appears that the dream has been fulfilled.” He then compared the defeat of Indira Gandhi to a ‘peaceful revolution’ and ‘public overthrowing’ of a government through constitutional means.

Hailing the unprecedented election results, Atal Bihari Vajpayee further said, “Those who have a firm belief in democracy, social empowerment, and financial equality have been given the opportunity to serve. We are grateful to the people of Delhi for ousting the Congress party and voting in favour of the Janata party.”

Atal Bihari Vajpayee talks about political struggle during Emergency

In the aftermath of the Emergency, Indira Gandhi lost the 1977 elections from the Rae Bareli constituency. Recounting how the Congress party would mock the Janata party for not having a Prime Ministerial candidate, he said, “I would tell the Congress what would happen if Indira Gandhi lost her bastion of Rae Bareily. And it happened. Today, we have our PM (referring to Morarji Desai).” Atal Bihari Vajpayee highlighted how political leaders such as Vijaylakshmi Pandit, Jagjivan Ram, Morarji Desai, and Jayaprakash Narayan deserted ‘power politics’ in their pursuit of saving democracy.

Vajpayee’s emphasis on the need for political awareness

“I am happy that the people understood the significance of the political struggle,”he emphasised. The former PM explained how Indira Gandhi flouted democratic principles under the garb of ‘discipline.’ Atal Bihari Vajpayee highlighted, “The country needs discipline but it won’t be forced upon you. It will be the discipline of conscience.” Addressing the crowd, he reiterated the need for accountability and political awareness among common electorates. He emphaised that the job of a voter is not over after a new government is formed.

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