Swamy’s interaction with Morarji
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]S[/dropcap]ree Iyer: The Next Prime Minister that we are going to talk about is Shri Morarji Desai – Doctor before I set up the questions here. I just want to share something with our viewers. Viewers in 1962, Shri Morarji Desai was the deputy prime minister under Jawaharlal Nehru, he was also the Finance Minister.
Dr Swamy: He was not Deputy Prime Minister,
Sree Iyer: Oh, I will take back, I am sorry; He was considered number two I thought.
Dr Swamy: He was not Finance Minister, He was commerce minister.
Sree Iyer: I am sorry, I am corrected.
Dr Swamy: He was not number two,
Sree Iyer: But he was expelled, I guess in 62.
Dr.Swamy: No, it was much later; he was expelled in 69 when the party was split
Dr Swamy: No, there was Kamraj Plan in which all senior leaders– like people who are advisers to Modi now-brought this rule of 75. (Non-existent rule of 75), – Kamaraj Plan was more explicit, it was 1963, but it changed change Chinese attack.
Sree Iyer: Dr Swamy – Would you like to share some experience with Morarji Desai.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]D[/dropcap]r.Swamy: I knew Morarji Desai in two instalments. I barely knew him in the 1960s and the first formal occasion when I met him when he went on fast unto death and I met him in 1974. He had issued a statement condemning IIT-Delhi for my illegal termination. My father was in Commerce ministry when he was Commerce Minister, so he knew I was his son and he also knew my father in law who was in ICS – who didn’t work under him but being a fellow Gujarati -my father in law and he- they knew each other.
In 1974 he decided to go on a fast unto death saying that Indira Gandhi is not holding Gujarat Assembly Elections and she must hold it. He began searching for anti-soviet people, he and Jayprakash Narayan got together at that time. From Jan Sangh he picked me to be part of that group. The first meeting was to condemn the Indo-Soviet treaty for which I had written very extensively, much to the rage of Mr Vajpayee who favoured it, who supported Indo – Soviet treaty and even forced Jan Sangh to vote for it.
Sree Iyer: Why did he want to do it?
Dr Swamy: It’s a long story I would not want to go into the detail. But as far as Morarji Desai is concerned he had kind of a liking for me. He was never a very pleasant person for most people but he was well very courteous with me, may be because of family background whatever. Then I saw him for the first time was after the emergency was sort of suspended and elections were declared. I was still in America at that time and he had just come out of Jail. “They interviewed him and Mrs Gandhi said all the opposition leaders who evaded arrest had run away from the country, he said nobody has run away from the country. Somebody said, but Dr Swamy has gone and has organized whole things in America, and he said, Dr Swamy, is not a senior leader of the party”.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]N[/dropcap]aturally, they played me tough and by then I had arrived in India, press asked me this is what he says and I said he is absolutely right, I am not 80 years old how can I be a senior leader. The news flashed Swamy makes fun of Morarji’s age– because it was a matter at that time how can an 80-year-old man become a Prime Minister of India. So he called me, I went to see him in Bombay- he said “young man I am an admirer of yours and why u have to call attention to my age. I asked why you had to call attention to me not being a senior leader. He said “that is fact. You are a young man” Then he said, “You in the mid 30s and you are arguing that you are a senior leader”. I said you are 80 years that is also a fact. He put his hand out and said “You and I are friends, let this not happen again” and we became friends.
He wanted to make me finance minister but Mr Vajpayee was against me, the main reason was during emergency Vajpayee wanted me to surrender because – “Mrs Gandhi has taken so much offence on what you have done that she will not remove the emergency. If you surrender, she will lift the emergency” that’s what he said. I didn’t do it because my family was suffering extensively. But, RSS said you are our hope, you can’t do that. I said, but what about the letter that you had sent through the underground channels. They said to give it us and they tore it up.
He was angry and he wanted to demonstrate, that I cannot make any progress in Janata party and I was equally determined to prove myself and I bypassed them.
Morarji was never for Vajpayee because Vajpayee drinks alcohol &he had a prejudice towards people who drank alcohol. Morarji started grooming me. Where ever he went he took me along. He addressed a meeting in his hometown and he put me on the stage. So, word got around that he is grooming me which made a lot of people Jealous. He was actually a very good man and very straight and those days that kind of generation was like that. Even to family members, they would not show the emotions. So all through I had very good relations with Morarji and I stayed with him till the end.
Sree Iyer: In fact, he saved your life.
Dr.Swamy:Yes, by coincidence, by an act of God he saved my life because I was fighting to expose Jayalalitha who engaged in tremendous violence. I mean this whole culture of Tamil Nadu politics as you can see today. Such crude tweets that you get today and Ms Jayalatitha in a sense part of it in the earlier times. I was shocked when women’s wing of the AIADMK came to demonstrate against me when I was going to court to file a case against Jayalalitha. These women blocked my way and they lifted their Sarees and it was all over the newspapers. Of course, Karunanidhi enjoyed it since it was akin to his kind of mentality. But I felt ashamed, so in that period Morarji was very supportive.
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]W[/dropcap]hat happened is, I was going from Madras (Chennai) to Pondicherry and I had to pass through a town called Tindivanam. But 2 KMS before Tindivanam suddenly someone comes on a motorcycle and asked us to stop and so I stopped the car put down the glass and asked what the problem is? He said, that he just heard on the radio that Morarji Desai has died. I was with my party people; Chandralekha was party president and told that we need to go back because I cannot go ahead. She also said that there is a huge crowd waiting for you at Pondicherry and if you don’t come all the people would be disappointed. Why don’t you finish the meeting and go? I said I have to go else I will not be able to reach the cremation, which would mostly be held tomorrow morning.
Even that was doubtful that I would be able to reach by evening as during that time we didn’t have so many flight connectivity and the only option available at that time was Indian Airlines. So, I said we have to go back and we turned around the car and went back. When I reached Chennai, I get this call from the then Governor Chenna Reddy. He asked-“where are you”? I said, “I am in Chennai”. He said, “are you ok”? I said, “Of course I am Ok”. He said “you were to be murdered in Tindivanam”,
[dropcap color=”#008040″ boxed=”yes” boxed_radius=”8px” class=”” id=””]I[/dropcap] asked him “how do you know”?, he said “I was to go to Pondicherry”-[ because he was concurrently governor of Pondicherry]. His car was stopped in Tindivanam and he had all kinds of escorts. The make of his car was- I think Rolls Royce (probably). But anyways they checked who it was and found it was governor. Then the police told the governor, please don’t proceed and go back, by another route, because these people are here to burn Swamy alive in his car. Those days we didn’t have cell phones. So he couldn’t warn me. Had Morarji not died and had not the motorcyclist come and informed me, I am 100% sure that there would have been a barbeque of me on that day.
Thanks to Paramacharya – because he was the one who blessed me to fight her that was his last act. Since there was no flight from Chennai to Ahmedabad, I had to go from Delhi. But unfortunately, there was no flight available by the time I reached Delhi to go to Ahmedabad. I suddenly got a call from Narasimha Rao, it was in 1996 beginning he was still PM and he said are you in Delhi – I said Yes. He told me “Come along with me we are going to Morarji’s cremation”. He said, “I had been trying to reach you the whole day”, I said, “I was on my way to Pondicherry and got the message and came back”. I went through a special plane and went to the cremation. The first thing I thought in the cremation of Morarji Desai “Thank You very much, Sir, even in your death you have saved me”.