Editor says, what if Morarji Desai had been elected Indian PM? muses Jeff Provine on This Day in Alternate History Please note that the opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of the author(s). This article is part of the Jeff Provine Blog thread.
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Editor says, in reality Indira Gandhi was elected with Kamaraj's support. Desai split from the Congress Party to form the Janata Party in 1968, and Indira solidified her command with Indian victory in the 1971 war with Pakistan. She advanced India's nuclear program to successful tests in 1974, launched agricultural reforms establishing surplus food for the Indian people, and declared a state of emergency from 1975 to '77 during which she ruled by decree. When she and the Congress Party lost the election of 1977, she found herself out of power and arrested for electoral corruption and abuse of power. Desai became prime minister for a few years, but the failures of economic reform took him out of office in 1979. Despite unpopularity during the Emergency, Gandhi returned to power in 1980. Her harsh treatment of Sikhs during Operation Blue Star led to her assassination by two of her bodyguards in 1984. India has experienced tremendous growth, and was listed as the ninth largest economy in 2011. Editorial comments are entered in [light green] typeface.