A Facebook post claiming Indira Gandhi had forced two of her MPs (Member of Parliament) to resign to make way for Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Lal Krishna Advani when the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) did not win a single seat in the Lok Sabha elections, is false.
The caption accompanying the viral post reads, “When BJP got ‘0’ seat in the Lok Sabha, Indira ji asked her 2 MPs to resign and gave a seat to Atal ji and one seat to Advaniji.”
Translated from Hindi “जब बीजेपी को लोकसभा में ‘0’ सीट आई थी तब इंदिरा जी ने अपने 2 MP से त्यागपत्र लेकर 1 सीट पर अटल जी तथा 1 सीट पर आडवाणी जी को दी थी.”
The post has gained around 120 shares at the time of writing this article.
Claim: BJP got zero seats in the Lok Sabha
Fact: The lowest number of seats the party has registered was two seats in 1984
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was formed on April 6, 1980 after Lok Sabha elections in January that year. Members of the erstwhile Janata Party quit, as its members were barred from holding dual membership, mainly of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS).
The Bharatiya Jana Sangh – precursor to the BJP, was a political outfit formed by Dr. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, which later merged into the Janata Party.
The Janata Party was formed as a coalition of opponents of the Congress (I) under Indira Gandhi, of which the Jana Sangh was a constituent.
The Janata Party defeated the Congress (I) under Gandhi in 1977 to form the first non-Congress government in India since independence.
In the general elections held in 1984 after the assassination of Indira Gandhi, BJP got only two seats, which is the party’s poorest show in the lower house of parliament.
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Claim: Indira Gandhi made two of her MPs resign for Vajpayee and Advani?
BOOM looked at the period from 1962 when Indira Gandhi became the prime minister of India until her assassination on October 31, 1984 and Vajpayee and Advani’s electoral runs during the corresponding period.
Advani’s Track Record
During Indira Gandhi’s first and second tenure in 1962 and 1967, Advani was the assistant editor at ‘Organiser’, a political journal of the Jana Sangh party.
Advani was also a Rajya Sabha member from 1970 to 1994 and did not contest the Lok Sabha elections during this period.
BOOM also spoke to Ramchandra Guha, historian and author of ‘India After Gandhi’ and ‘India Before Gandhi’.
“This seems like a fabricated story, as by the time of 1984 election Indira Gandhi was assassinated and in any case, she could have nothing to do with this,” Ramchandra Guha told BOOM.
“Advani and Vajpayee had very frosty relations with Indira Gandhi. The only time the relations would have been okay was during the 1971 India-Pakistan War when everyone came together. By the late 70s the relation was very cold and hostile as Indira Gandhi as she had put Advani and Vajpayee in jail during the Emergency (1975-1977) imposed by Indira Gandhi,” added Guha.
Vajpayee’s Track Record
Indira Gandhi had lost 1977 elections to the Janata Party and came back to power in the 1980 general election. Meanwhile Vajpayee’s fate was some what opposite, he won the 1977 election and was made minister for external affairs in the Janata Party government.
He again won his seat in the 1980 general election from Lucknow.
The only Lok Sabha election that Vajpayee lost was in 1984 when he contested from Gwalior and lost to Madhavrao Scindia, following the death of Indira Gandhi.