India's opposition Janata Party and its allies have won an absolute majority of seats in the Indian general election.
GV EXTERIOR Indian Public Service Commission building in Delhi
SV INTERIOR Ballot papers being counted (3 shots)
SV Mr A.B. Vajpayee of Janata Party
GV EXTERIOR People shouting Janata Party slogans outside counting centre (3 shots)
SV INTERIOR (BLACK AND WHITE) Leading members of Janata Party shaking hands and congratulating each other
SV INTERIOR Cameramen (B/W)
SV Janata Party members shaking hands (2 shots) (B/W)
SCU Jagjivan Ram of Janata Party speaking (B/W)
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: A hasty Cabinet meeting authorised acting President Basappa Jatti to revoke the state of emergency on Monday (21 March). The government's mass sterilisation programme was the most hated feature of the emergency in Northern India. Riots were sparked off in several states over the alleged use of force to implement the sterilisation measures.
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Background: India's opposition Janata Party and its allies have won an absolute majority of seats in the Indian general election. The defeat for Mrs Gandhi and her ruling Congress Party is a humiliating one, and the biggest election upset in India's independent history. But Mrs Gandhi, who lost her own constituency, is reported to have delayed a decision to resign as Prime Minister until Tuesday (22 March) at the earliest.
SYNOPSIS: The counting began in New Delhi, India's capital, early on Sunday (20 March) and from the beginning it looked as though the Janata Party would win. They were picking up votes at the rate of two to one against the Congress candidate. Mrs Gandhi's own defeat was announced on Sunday as well as that of her son Sanjay in a neighbouring constituency. The double blow almost certainly means the eclipse of the most powerful family in Indian politics. Mrs Gandhi and her father, Jawaharlal Nehru, effectively ruled the country for the past thirty years.
Enthusiastic Janata Party supporters manned counting stations like this to shout their allegiance as the sorting continued in an election which virtually became a referendum on Mrs Gandhi's controversial state of emergency. The state of emergency, imposed 21 months ago, led to the jailing of a number of opposition leaders. Many of the government ministers who lost their seats in this election owe their defeat to the government's mass family planning drive in which seven million Indians were sterilised last year.
By Monday night, (21 March) the Janata Party and its principal ally, the Congress for Democracy, were well in the lead. Opposition leaders were congratulating each other on their remarkable breakthrough, and at the same time preparing to take over the reins of government. Congress for Democracy leader Jagjivan Ram spoke about Mrs Gandhi's defeat.