As India's national elections drew near, rival candidates for the North-West constituency of Bombay stepped up their campaigns and staged walks through the streets on December 15 and 16 to gather support.
GVs & SVs Sonil Dutt campaigning on foot, as supporters give him garlands, banners, inscriptions on wall. (8 SHOTS)
GVs Sonil Dutt and supporters on trucks riding through streets as supporters wave. (8 SHOTS)
GVs & SVs Ram Jethmalani campaigning, speaking to people, receiving garlands. (8 SHOTS)
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: As India's national elections drew near, rival candidates for the North-West constituency of Bombay stepped up their campaigns and staged walks through the streets on December 15 and 16 to gather support. Bombay, the commercial and financial centre of India, has been closely watching the fight between the incumbent, opposition MP Ram Jethmalani and a film star running for the ruling Congress (I) Party, Sonil Dutt. The actor is a newcomer to politics, while his opponent, who represents the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has won two previous elections, in 1977 and 1980. Dutt walked round the constituency on December 15, and then the next day joined a massive procession of film stars along the main thoroughfares of the area. Jethmalani was chosen to represent the combined opposition. The North West is one of two out of six Bombay constituencies where the opposition parties succeeded in putting up a common nominee. It appears that the Indian opposition parties are more split now than they were at the time of the 1980 elections - the BJP of which Jethmalani is a member is an offshoot of one section of the Janaty Party. However, the ruling Congress (I) Party is currently troubled by internal debate on its future and Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi faced revolts in several states after he failed to renominate nearly a quarter of the 339 sitting Congress members. Public sympathy following the assassination of Indira Gandhi has kept Congress (I) well ahead in opinion polls.