INTRODUCTION: Indian Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi, on a general election campaign across the nation,?
INTRODUCTION: Indian Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi, on a general election campaign across the nation, has been busy in the all-important southern states in the last week before the poll. The five big ones alone have one third of the seats in the 542-member Lok Sabha -- the Lower House of parliament.
SYNOPSIS: Perhaps the most crucial of the southern states is Kerala, where Mrs. Gandhi's ruling Congress party got only 14 of the 59 seats in the last general election -- despite being swept back to power with a massive majority in other parts of the country. Now, with her popularity under increasing question, she's having to fight hard for every seat in the state against stiff opposition.
One of Mrs. Gandhi's constant themes in her campaign is explaining the heavily-criticised state of emergency she introduced last year, with its suppression of news and political activity.
Mrs. Gandhi's campaign has been peaceful, although she's faced some previously unknown restlessness among her audiences. And even where she does receive popular applause, it's obviously quieter than usual.