India's Prime Minister, Mrs Indira Gandhi, has been visiting the state of Jammu and Kashmir amid speculation that she might call a snap mid-term poll.
India's Prime Minister, Mrs Indira Gandhi, has been visiting the state of Jammu and Kashmir amid speculation that she might call a snap mid-term poll. On Tuesday (22nd December) Mrs Gandhi arrived in Jammu to address a large public meeting to detail and explain her socialist policies. The following day (Wednesday 23rd December) Mrs Gandhi visited Kashmir to have discussions with Congress Party workers.
Speaking to a crowd of more than 50,000 in Jammu, Mrs Gandhi spent some time going through her party policies, explaining their aims and objectives, and outlining the anticipated advantages of them. As well as explaining her policies, Mrs Gandhi was also hoping to measure the extent of her support among the voters of the state.
The crowd which included a large number of women and children, gave the Prime Minister an enthusiastic reception, and a hearty farewell as she left for Kashmir.
Another large crowd of several thousand braved biting wintry weather in Kashmir to welcome Mrs Gandhi on her arrival at Srinagar Airport. She was particularly anxious to assess the strength of her Kashmir party workers in view of the increasing support there for "pro-plebiscite groups" led by Seikh Abdullah. The groups have threatened to contest any poll and fight for self determination in Kashmir if they should come to power.
Mrs Gandhi and her party's Working Committee are known to favour an early national poll...possibly early next year... in the hope of obtaining a parliamentary majority which would help her pursue her radical policies. The government is expected to make a decision on an early poll "in a week or so".