Give a brief account of the circumstances that led to the split in Congress, in 1969.
The factional rivalry between the Syndicate and Indira Gandhi came out in the open in 1969. Following President Zakir Hussain’s death, the post of the President of India fell yacant that year. Despite Indira Gandhi’s reservations, the Syndicate managed to nominate her long time rival and the then Speaker of the Lok Sabha, N. Sanjeeva Reddy, as the official Congress candidate for the coming presidential elections.
Indira Gandhi retaliated by encouraging the then Vice-President V.V. Giri to file his nomination as an independent candidate. After silently supporting V.V. Giri, Indira Gandhi openly called for a ‘conscience vote’ which meant that the MPs and MLAs from Congress should be free to vote the way they wanted.
V.V. Giri won the election and the defeat of the official Congress candidate formalized the split in the party. The Congress President expelled the Prime Minister from the Party. By November 1969, the Congress group led by the Syndicate came to be known as the Congress (Organisation) and the group led by Indira Gandhi came to be known as the – Congress (Requisitionists).