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Working a Democratic ConstitutionA History of the Indian Experience$
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Granville Austin

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780195656107

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195656107.001.0001

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Indira Gandhi: In Context and in Power

Indira Gandhi: In Context and in Power

(p.173) Chapter 7 Indira Gandhi: In Context and in Power
Working a Democratic Constitution

Granville Austin

Oxford University Press

After the death of Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri, a new era marked by confrontation over institutional and personal power began with the arrival in the Prime Minister's office of Nehru's daughter, Indira Gandhi. Self-evidently, essential issues of constitutional governance underlay her actions in these confrontations. In New Delhi, the distribution of powers among the three branches of government was gravely unsettled. Mrs Gandhi's grip on the Congress Parliamentary Party exceeded the power typically enjoyed by prime ministers in parliamentary systems, where prime ministers heed as well as lead their followers. This chapter provides the context for the constitutional developments that marked this period. It examines Mrs Gandhi's invocation of socialist themes to consolidate her authority; the rise to prominence of a new political generation; and the increasing migration of authority from a variety of institutions and individuals to the office and person of the Prime Minister.

Keywords:   Lal Bahadur Shastri, socialism, New Delhi, Congress Parliamentary Party

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