fifty years ago, AUGUST 1, 1972 Archives

PM defends Simla Pact

New Delhi, July 31: The Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, who intervened in the debate later in the afternoon, made a blistering attack on the Jan Sangh for its unseemly behaviour, describing the incident as an “utterly deplorable and ridiculous demonstration” by people who had the “cheek to talk of democracy.” Seldom had Mrs. Gandhi spoken with such indignation as she did to-day, while she lashed out furiously at the Jan Sangh leader, A.B. Vajpayee, and his party colleagues for their fierce campaign against the Simla Agreement based on what she considered to be a deliberate misrepresentation of the present Indo-Pakistan situation. She strongly repudiated the Jan Sangh insinuation that India had signed this agreement under foreign pressure, especially from the Soviet Union. The Prime Minister stressed that she had made no tall claims about the Simla Agreement, which was only a beginning for India-Pakistan reconciliation. She said Mr. Bhutto was making a sincere effort to open a “new future of friendship and peace.” It was in India’s interest to help Pakistan turn away from the past. The stage for this tempestuous interlude to-day was set by an acrimonious wrangle earlier over the Speaker’s refusal to admit an adjournment motion in place of a calling attention notice on the price situation which was causing great hardship to the people. It led to a walk-out in protest by seven Opposition groups — the CPM, Congress (O), Jan Sangh, Swatantra, DMK, Socialist Party and the Muslim League.


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