She had planned a sort of plebiscite, a “yes” or “no” vote on her rule, and was positive of the outcome. Whoever heard of a dictator losing a plebiscite election, since Louis Bonaparte invented the technique?
Everything remained under Mrs. Gandhi’s control during the campaign—police, army, state apparatus, election machinery. She relaxed her almost two-year-old Emergency, but let her closest advisers know that once the election was won she would crack down hard; she would show the Opposition what Emergency rule really meant! “I am not a dictator,” she proclaimed. Proof? The elections. But what empowered her to turn elections on or off, postpone them, and then suddenly call them? She made the decisions to suit herself, monopolizing television and radio. (In India, 200 million people listen to radio, in remote villages often their sole source of the news.) The identification of her Congress party and government could not have been more thorough than it was during that election campaign....
For just $19.95 a year, get access to new issues and decades' worth of archives on our site.
Print + Online
For $35 a year, get new issues delivered to your door and access to our full online archives.