In India the political crisis worsens. The lines are drawn behind two contenders -- caretaker?
NEW DELHI, INDIA (20-22 JULY, 1979) (REUTERS)
GV Chavan residence
SV & CU Mr. Chavan with supporters
GV Mr. Chavan walks to his house
GV Chavan supporters in front of house
GV Prime Minister's residence
SV Cars of Janata Party executives entering
SCU ZOOM OUT EXTERIOR Mr. Desai seated with Jagjivan Ram and others
SV Janata Party leaders with Mr. Ram and Mr. Desai (3 SHOTS)
GV Charan Singh's residence
CU Mr. Charan Singh seated in his residence
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Background: In India the political crisis worsens. The lines are drawn behind two contenders -- caretaker Prime Minister Morarji Desai and Charan Singh, former Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister in the Desai government. Following Yeshwantrao Chavan's inability to fulfil President Sanjiva Reddy's mandate to form a stable government, Mr. Chavan has thrown his support behind Mr. Singh. Mrs Gandhi has joined him, while Mr. Desai's former adversary Mr. Jagjivan Ram has renounced his claim to party leadership and decided to back Mr. Desai.
Not much optimism was expressed when Mr. Chavan was asked to form a new government. His party only seventy-five members in the five hundred and forty-four seat parliament, and could not muster the support he needed. Mr. Chavan is leader of the Congress party, and since his failure to form a government, two strong contenders have emerged. Now he and his party have decided that India's future should lie in the hands of a government under the leadership of Mr. Charan Singh.
In the Prime Minister's Residence Caretaker Premier Morarji Desai met with party faithfuls.
Mr. Desai was also joined by Deputy Premier Jagjivan Ram. Mr. Ram had earlier called for Mr. Desai to step down as leader of the Janata Party in his favour. Now Mr. Ram has withdrawn his bid for the leadership and an apparent reconciliation has taken place.
President Reddy gave both men, Mr. Desai and Mr. Singh, two days to prove their respective claims of support to form the next government.
Mr. Singh, whose defection from the Janata Party to form a breakaway group sparked the current crisis, is busy marshalling his own support. Mr. Chavan said he believes Mr. Singh could produce a proper administration. Mrs Indira Gandhi on Monday also declared her support for Mr. Singh's leadership, but said that her party would not join the government. Mr. Singh has now gained support from a total of two hundred and fifty members. Mr Desai's Janata Party, only two hundred and ten.