This might put many in shock, but it’s true. However, this is like every political case, where your mistake is your opposition’s gain. It was 70s, when Gujarat was witnessing its major political transformation. Not just Gujarat though; entire India was all set for major political change. People had started looking for the alternate of Congress.
It was the phase when internal rift within Congress party was at the peak. The group led by Indira Gandhi was getting weaker as a huge chunk of members and workers were supporting Morarji Desai. This Morarji Desai led Congress used to be called Congress 2 or Congress Sangathan.
In 1973, due to internal rift within the party of Congress, comparatively young Chiman Bhai Patel replaced Ghanshyam Ojha to be the chief minister. But, he had to face a huge challenge as the state faced its worst monsoon. Food prices were at the peak. It caused the anger among people. This rage provoked one of the biggest student rebellions in Indian history. It started from L D Engineering College in Ahmadabad after their fees hiked significantly. In no time the protest started from college campus reached the highways. The protest spread like fire after the support from common men, those too were feeling the pain.
Almond oil price hike brought Chiman Bhai government under scanner. People started chanting “Chiman Chor”. It was alleged that Chiman Bhai has hiked the prices by collaborating with capitalists. Students from every college along with huge support from common citizens made the protest even stronger. Gradually the protest turned violent. Army had to interfere. Curfew declared in 40 places.
Noteworthy here is to mention that the student leaders back then had tried their best to keep the political parties at distance from this protest. It is therefore referred as the greatest political rebellion of the nation, unlike the contemporary student politics, those are pretty much being conducted for political gains.
Still, the political parties tried their best to influence people based on this. However, the most news-making incidence was Indira Gandhi declaring Presidential rule in the state. Chiman Bhai Patel was thus removed from the party.
This was the time when Narendra Modi was leading ABVP activities. Though parties were not taking part actively in this movement, but it certainly encouraged the politicians like Jay Prakash Narayn to start similar movements at other states.
Well, coming back to the state, Morarji Desai started infinite hunger strike. Considering the spreading heat of this movement, Indira Gandhi realized that there is no other option remained, but to mediate. The government had to break, and election declared on June 1975. This is considered the biggest win by politicians against Congress so far.
Congress faced a devastating loss in 1975. This brought a non-congress alliance form the government. Babu Bhai Patel from KMLP (Kishan Majdoor Lok Paksh) led it. But more than this loss, the rift that had occurred within the party affected Congress more. Chiman Bhai Patel, who was hugely protested by people for allegedly helping almond capitalists, and was discarded from the party, started spreading among common citizens that he had taken money from the capitalists, but only as indicated by Indira Gandhi. In next election, Congress (led by Indira Gandhi) faced a shocking defeat. This made Morarji Desai form government, which then called Janta Morcha Sarkar.
It is here to mention that only 8 days after the formation of Morarji Desai government, Emergency was declared by Indira Gandhi. Such revengeful action by Indira however provided RSS the real opportunity. Morarji Desai group, which was once a part of Congress, started talking in same talking in same tune as of RSS to protest against emergency. Most of the top protesting leaders, those were from Morarji Desai’s party were arrested. Protesters from the associates like RSS were ignored. Interestingly, Narendra Modi, who is the unprecedented contender from BJP as a PM candidate for upcoming 2019 general election, was then ignored and was not arrested.
Anyway, as the top leaders from Janta sarkar were in jail, this provided opportunity for the associates like RSS getting actively involved and getting closer to common people. Just like during the student protests, this political movement too helped RSS and its affiliates like ABVP get major motivation and feel established in Indian politics.