From 1973 there was a sharp recession, growing unemployment,rampant inflation and scarcity of basic food. The oil crisis of the mid 70’s had also contributed to the crisis and all of these developments together led to riots and large-scale unrest and strikes and erosion of support for the Congress from the poor and the middle class.
The students asked Jay Prakash Narayan, an elderly man who was in political retirement, to take over the leadership of the movement. JP, as he was popularly known as he agreed to take on the leadership of the movement, provided it was non-violent and not restricted to Bihar. He had made a public criticism of the central government. His entry gave the movement a great morale boost. It came to be known as the JP movement. He asked students to boycott their classes and the people to raise their consciousness against the corruption of the government. The result was constant clashes between the students and the police. On 5th June 1974, at a mammoth meeting in Patna, he called for “total revolution”against the government. He called for the state legislatures to resign, for the assembly to be dissolved. JP called for the agitators to paralyze the government. He wanted to set up a parallel “People’s Government”.