Nomination for India's national elections closed on November 27, as opposition parties reached a seat-sharing agreement to avoid splitting the vote.
GVs Opposition leader Chandrasekhar driving through crowded streets of Ballia and being cheered by supporters (2 shots)
GV Camels bearing party colours and crowds in street
SV INTERIOR Court official seated in Ballia Collector's Court
CU Chandrasekhar handing nomination papers to Collector who signs them
SV Chandrasekhar signing oath which says that if elected he will stand by the constitution
GV Large crowd at public meeting
SVs Chandrasekhar speaking to large crowd (3 shots)
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Background: Nomination for India's national elections closed on November 27, as opposition parties reached a seat-sharing agreement to avoid splitting the vote. The main opposition alliance comprises the Dalit Mazdoor Kisan Party (DKMP), led by former Prime Minister Charan Singh, and the Janata Party, which ruled India from 1977 to 1979. Janata President Chandrasekhar filed his nomination papers in the sleepy town of Ballia in Uttar Pradesh. Thousands of his supporters turned out to greet him. Later in the day he opened his election campaign with a fierce attack on the ruling Congress (1) party's economic record. He also accused the Government of leading India into disunity through its handling of national issues. A Janata spokesman said all the opposition parties wanted seat-sharing throughout India in order to improve their electoral chances. Political observers believe opposition leaders stand little chance of replacing Rajiv Gandhi as Prime Minister unless they can avoid splitting votes against the Congress (1) party. So far, India's main opposition groups, have agreed on the sharing of seats in Delhi and eight other states. But political observers say talks on putting up single opposition candidates in the north of India have failed to produce agreement. Rajiv Gandhi succeeded his mother Indira Gandhi as Prime Minister on October 31 after she was assassinated by two Sikh bodyguards. Indira Gandhi and her father, Jawaharlal Nehru, between them ruled India for 32 of the 37 years since independence from Britain in 1947. The only time the opposition defeated Congress was in 1977 when it was united. But Western diplomats have said opposition groups lack enough cohesion to win this time.