DR Triguna Sen A Profile In Parliament(1967-1974) -Satyabrata Dutta

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Dr. Triguna Sen joined the Union Cabinet after the fourth general election in 1967. He had been a member of the Rajya Sabha all through. Dr. Sen never
visualized a parliamentary career for himself. How he was drafted into the
Cabinet which Mrs. Indira Gandhi had formed after 1967 election, is still a
matter of conjecture. It is said that Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, India’s
scholar-President (13 May 1962 – 13 May 1967), who had keenly watched Sen’s career as educationist and administrator might have sounded his name to Mrs. Gandhi. Sen himself maintains stoic silence on this issue. However,his farewell address to the Rajya Sabha on March 26, 1974 may be of relevance in this context. “I was an insignificant teacher meddling with education for all my life, but I was very happy with my students, boys and girls. I had never thought of coming to this seat of power. I could never dream that I would be able to sit with all of those who are shaping the destiny of my country. In her wisdom the Prime Minister called me to come over here. I hesitated for a few days, but I came.” 1 Elsewhere he said, “it was an
accident that I am now in Delhi.”The political setting in India and the role of the Parliament in the country’s decision-making process during Dr. Sen’s tenure in the post-1967 period require a discussion in order to assess his wide ranging role in the Cabinet as Education Minister,Minister of Petroleum, Chemical, Mines & Metals and also as an ordinary MP. Triguna Sen, already a Padma Bhusan, joined the Cabinet at a time when the Indian National Congress was feeling the pinch of reverses it had suffered in 1967 election. For the first time since independence the Congress party was routed from power in several states. It was also downsized in Parliament and acrimonies among the top leaders of the organization surfaced.The division in the Communist Party of India in 1964 considerably weakened its role in Parliament. As a result it was replaced by the Swatantra Party which became the first group in the opposition in the Lok Sabha in 1967.Then came the great divide” in the Congress in 1969 when Indira Gandhi broke away from the parent organization with her followers and veteran leaders like Kamraj Nadar and others formed Congress (O). The tide again turned in favour of the Congress when in the fifth Lok Sabha election in 1971 it had registered a massive victory with Mrs. Indira Gandhi’s slogan of “Garibi Hatao”(eliminate poverty). The poverty elimination programme, however, proved to be hollow and the movement launched by Jaiprakash Narayan, “the total revolution”, as it was called, put the government and the Congress organization in tight corner.

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