CIA analysis on politics off mark

CIA analysis on politics off mark

When it comes to reading the political pulse of the country, the American spy agency CIA seems to be off the mark several times, if one goes by the declassified files.

The CIA predicted in July 18, 1975, three weeks after the imposition of the Emergency, that chances of Indira Gandhi retaining power were good while nine years later, it felt that her son Rajiv may not be able to get a majority in an election after her assassination.

On both counts, the results were diametrically opposite with Indira being ousted with one of the worst performances by the Congress while Rajiv romped home with a sympathy wave, garnering over 400 seats, the highest for any party till date.

The 1975 despatch said the Congress’s chances of retaining majority in Parliament were “good whether the party is led by (Indira) Gandhi or someone else”. “It might lose some seats, but unless it lost more than 85, it would still retain a majority in a newly constituted 540-member lower house,” it said.

Another miscalculation was on the impact of the Emergency on electorate when it said her “repressive moves” cannot be judged by then but it will be “less damaging” among small, middle and upper classes.

“Her name and family heritage will probably continue to attract sizeable support, particularly in rural areas where most Indians live,” it said.

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