The ruling Indian Congress Party conference yesterday at Faridabad. After an open-air session, which was?
PARTY VOLUNTEERS ASSEMBLED; MR. DESAI ARRIVES; MRS. GANDHI ARRIVES; PRESIDENT NIJALINGAPPA MAKES SPEECH (IN ENGLISH); CONFERENCE HALL; SMOKE; FIRE ENGINE; SMOULDERING DEBRIS; BURNT TENT. (NATURAL SOUND AND SOF)
TRANSCRIPT: Mr. S. Nijalingappa: "Let us not dither, let us not think we are growing weak, let us not think this is a sinking ship, let us find, let us convince ourselves that it is a fact that this is a strong organisation, a living organisation with a purpose and that it is going to live and live for ever."
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Background: The ruling Indian Congress Party conference yesterday at Faridabad. After an open-air session, which was addressed by Congress President S. Nijalingappa, the delegates went into a giant tent for the first meeting of the annual conference, but fire broke out and the tent was burnt to the ground within a few minutes. Mrs. Indira Gandhi and members of the government escaped unhurt.
The tent had been made at the cost of GBP10,000 Sterling and could seat 100,000 people. Luckily few delegates were in it when fire broke out, and despite a minor stampede only a few people were injured, none of them seriously. Mr. Gandhi was escorted from the dais by security guards.
As a result of the fire the seventy-second session of the All India Congress Committee was left without a meeting-place. More than a thousand volunteers started trying to reconstruct the conference area for an open session on Sunday as soon as the fire had been put out.
The fire is thought to have been caused by an electrical fault in the tent which was lit by floodlights.
Prior to the incident, the Congress was addressed by its President, Mr. S. Nijalingappa, who said: