Within two days of Mrs Gandhi’s decision to go in for fresh elections, the government came out with a major announcement relaxing the Emergency. The Centre rushed instructions to the state governments to speed up the release of political detenus held under MISA and also to review the cases proceeding under the Defence of Internal Security of India rules. The state governments have been told that public meetings for normal political activity and electioneering purposes should be allowed freely. Another decision was that section 16-A of MISA which permits detentions under the Act, should not be invoked except against members of the banned organisations.
The four non-Communist opposition parties will contest the Lok Sabha election under the banner of Janata Party. Leaders of the Old Congress, Bharatiya Lok Dal, Jana Sangh and Socialist Party at their meeting decided to set up a nine-man committee to direct the entire election. The Old Congress leader, Morarji Desai, said they would try to get one common symbol for the Janata Party candidates. The four parties are determined to work as a single party for the purpose of the election pending the formation of the united democratic front.
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Carter Is President
Jimmy Carter was sworn in as president of the United States amid high expectations that he will be a people’s president and restore the moral leadership of the US. Carter’s first priority is expected to be giving a stimulus to the economy and reducing unemployment, but he is also expected to be very active in foreign policy. A dramatic change in American foreign policy is expected towards Africa, where Carter is expected actively to promote majority rule. In his brief inaugural speech, Carter promised progress towards international disarmament, defence of human rights and a renewal of faith in the United States and the American dream.
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