April 28, Forty years ago
A look at the front page of Indian Express on April 28, published forty years ago.
Saigon under siege
Vietnam is the big story with the communist forces encircling Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam. General Duong Van “Big” Minh is the new South Vietnam president, in the hope that he will be able to persuade the National Liberation Front for talks. The NLF has taken control of all the roads and is firing rockets into Saigon. The report mentions the imminent closure of the United States Defence Attache Office, officially ending 25 years of American military involvement in Vietnam.
Disagreements about the Janata front begin brewing even before the party is formed. Charan Singh, the Bharatiya Lok Dal chief, is sceptical about the people’s movement of Jayaprakash Narayan becoming the national alternative to the Congress. He wants all non-CPI parties to merge and become the main opposition. He believes involvement in the JP movement has limited the growth of the BLD. His colleague, Raj Narain, wants the party to immerse itself in the JP movement. He had led the first batch of satyagrahis and courted arrest.
JP on farmers
The farmer’s plight is a live issue, with JP launching a peasants’ levy movement in Uttar Pradesh, demanding a better price for wheat. He asks farmers not to sell wheat at Rs 105 a quintal, as fixed
by the government. (The current procurement price for wheat is Rs 1,450 for a quintal). In a hint of things to come, JP says talks with UP Chief Minister H.N. Bahuguna are possible. Bahuguna later joined the Janata front.
Indira goes to sea
Prime Minister Indira Gandhi leaves for the Commonwealth Prime Ministers’ Conference in Kingston, Jamaica. She hints at the presence of the big powers in the Indian Ocean, which she envisages as a zone of peace, becoming an issue at the meet. The United States had completed building a base at Diego Garcia. A photograph by R.L. Chopra of the Gandhi family — Rajiv, Sonia, Sanjay as well as little Rahul and Priyanka — seeing Indira off at the Delhi airport accompanies the story.
Source:: Indian Express