Caretaker Indian Prime Minister Morarji Desai said he would not resign from the Janata Party leadership.
Caretaker Indian Prime Minister Morarji Desai said he would not resign from the Janata Party leadership. Mr. Desai, who resigned as Prime Minister on Sunday (15 July), has come under increasing attack from both inside and outside his ruling Janata Party. But he said his party was still the largest in parliament and should be called on to form a new government.
SYNOPSIS: Eighty-three year old Morarji Desai was speaking to newsmen after he met with President Sanjiva Reddy on Tuesday (17 July). Reddy had to decide whether the ex-premier or one of his two main rivals, Charan Singh and Jagjivan Ram, should be called on to form a new administration. A crucial test fro Desai comes on Wednesday (18 July) when the parliamentary Janata Party meets, but Desai is reluctant to bow out of the leadership battle.
Defence Minister Jagjivan Ram has already called for Desai's resignation from the leadership. Ram is regarded as his natural replacement, and is expected to rally support in his own bid for the premiership. Ram has served in every Indian government since 1964 but political commentators say he could be forced to quit the Janata Party, if Desai survives.
Desai's other rival is ex-Finance Minister Charan Singh. He leads a breakaway faction of the Janata Party -- in a bid to become prime minister. He is not backed by the Communist Party of India nor the official Congress Party. But Singh says he's confident of winning the latter's support.