November 13, 1979, Forty Years Ago: Akali Unity

Front page of The Indian Express. (Archive)

If the formula hammered out by the Akali Dal’s seven-member committee appointed by the head priests is acceptable to other parties, there is every possibility of the Akali Dal remaining united. Six of the seven members of the committee met in New Delhi for over two hours to consider the question of electoral alliance with other parties. Only Jagdev Singh Talwandi, president of the Akali Dal, was absent. According to the formula worked out in the morning, the Akali Dal will contest seven of the 13 Lok Sabha seats in Punjab and the remaining six will be left for the alliance parties. The seven seats which the Akali party proposes to contest are Sangrur, Bhatinda (Reserved), Ropar (Reserved), Ludhiana, Faridkot. Patiala and Tarn Taran .

Iran’s Demand

Abolhassan Bani-Sadr, recently put in charge of Iran’s foreign ministry by Ayatollah Khomeini, told French radio interviewers “no compromise, no negotiation, is possible”, over Iran’s demand that the US extradite the ousted Shah to stand trial for his life, reports AP. Bani-Sadr summoned all foreign ambassadors to his office in Teheran on Monday to urge them to ask their governments to persuade the US to extradite the deposed Shah to stand trial in Iran. “Mr Bani Sadr told the envoys the Iranian demand was both logical and reasonable,” a foreign ministry spokesman told the Associated Press in Nicosia by telephone.

Shekhar’s Prophecy

The Janata Party President Chandra Shekhar forecast that the coalition caretaker government would break before the ensuing Lok Sabha elections. Chandra Shekhar said in Bombay that Congress leaders were beginning to realise that they would not be a factor to reckon with in the upcoming elections if they associated with the Lok Dal. Many did not believe his earlier prediction about the disintegration of the Lok Dal, “which is now coming true”, Chandra Shekhar said.