Kamalnayan Bajaj - page 88

KamalnayanBajaj –Architect of theBajajGroup
Convinced that her leadershipwas not in the country’s
interest and it would lead to authoritarianism, he chose
to remainwith old friends inCongress (O). Among them
Mrs.Gandhi’s decision tonationalise banks and the
way she did it was perhaps a turning point that firmed
Kamalnayan’s thought process.
FortunatelyKamalnayandidnot have to oversee a
bank under his charge beingnationalised.Hewas the
15th chairman of thePunjabNational Bank, one of the
fourteenbanks that were nationalised, but his three year
tenure ended in 1967.Desai was adamant against this
step.Mrs.Gandhi strippedDesai of the finance portfolio
on July 16, 1969 andpromulgated an ordinance three
days later.
WhenCongress finally split, 220LokSabhamembers
stayedwithMrs.Gandhi.Kamalnayanwas not one of
them, asMrs.Gandhi noted. TwoCommunist parties
provided the balance of the votes necessary formajority.
Could a upcoming industrial house afford to antagonise
the government?Kamalnayan’s responsewas short
and simple. Ifmembers of his family didnot agreewith
his views and felt that his standwas not in the family’s
interest, hewas prepared to sever all connectionswith
the business and gohis ownway. Everyone knew this
was not an idle threat.
The 1971 elections loomed.Mrs. Gandhi’s populist
Ten-Point Program and ‘Garibi Hatao’ slogan and
mastery over theCongress Partymachinery ensured
her victory and the rout of Congress (O). Including
Kamalnayan’s. Swept away in thewhirlpool of
national politics with its unending uncertainties,
tensions and heart-aches, Kamalnayan, like his father,
died young, passing away in 1972 soon after the 1971
Parliament elections.
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