The Swatantra Party (swatantra meaning 'free' or 'independent' in Sanskrit) was a classical liberal political party in India founded by Chakravarti Rajagopalachari and N. G. Ranga in August 1959. The party opposed the Nehruvian socialist outlook of the Congress Party by advocating free enterprise and free trade, and opposing the licence-permit Raj. In 1960 Rajaji and other Swatantra leaders wrote about why Swatantra Party had to be formed despite having worked closely with Nehru to obtain independence for India:
Swatantra Party did not fare badly in the first general elections after its formation. It received 6.8% of the total votes and 18 seats in the third Lok Sabha (1962-67). It emerged as the main opposition in four states - Bihar, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Orissa. It became a significant force in some regions of India and became the single largest opposition party in the mid-1960s in Parliament with 8.7% of the total votes and 44 seats in the Fourth Lok Sabha (1967-71). In 1971, it secured only 8 seats in the Lok Sabha with 3% of the votes. After Rajaji's death in 1972, it declined rapidly. It was also associated in the public mind with wealthy industrialists and former maharajas. The Swatantra experiment of liberalism ended in 1974 by merging with Bharatiya Kranti Dal (led by Charan Singh), a coalition of left-wing, right-wing, and Hindu opponents of Congress Party rule.
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Articles related to
- H.R.Pasricha. The Swatantra Party—Victory in Defeat. The Rajaji Foundation. 2002.
- Howard L. Erdman. India’s Swatantra Party. Public Affairs Vol 36, Issue 4, Winter 1963-1964, pp. 394-410.
- Rasam Vasanti-Swatantra Party- A political Biography Dattson Publishers, Nagpur- 1997
- Rasam Vasanti -Role of Swantantra Party as an Opposition Party (National Level) Pub.In :"Readings on Parliamentary Opposition".
- C. Rajagopalachari : Save freedom. Why Swatantra, 1960
- Minoo Masani: To provide A Democratic Alternative. Why Swatantra, 1960
- K.M. Munshi: To Restore Fundamental Rights. Why Swatantra, 1960
- N.G. Ranga: To Preserve Family Economy. Why Swatantra, 1960
- A number of links at sabhlokcity.com
- Rediff On The NeT: Rajmohan Gandhi on C Rajagopalachari and the birth of the Swatantra Party
- Revive the Swatantra Party
- Minoo Masani And The Swatantra Party
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