• Short Summary

    THIS WEEK, A THIRD OF THE INDIAN ELECTORATE ARE GOING TO THE POLLS IN FOUR STATES WHEN 100-MILLION VOTERS ARE ELECTING LOCAL GOVERNMENTS IN POLLS WHICH COULD WELL DECIDE THE FUTURE OF PARLIAMENTARY DEMOCRACY IN ASIA.

  • Description

    THIS WEEK, A THIRD OF THE INDIAN ELECTORATE ARE GOING TO THE POLLS IN FOUR STATES WHEN 100-MILLION VOTERS ARE ELECTING LOCAL GOVERNMENTS IN POLLS WHICH COULD WELL DECIDE THE FUTURE OF PARLIAMENTARY DEMOCRACY IN ASIA. THE STATE OF WEST BENGAL POLLS ON SUNDAY (9 FEBRUARY), AND THERE ARE 1,019 CANDIDATES CONTESTING 280 SEATS IN THE STATE ASSEMBLY - BUT WHICH THE INCREASINGLY STRONG MAOIST COMMUNISTS, THE NAXALITES, HAVE CALLED ON THE ELECTORATE TO BOYCOTT TOTALLY.

    IN WEST BENGAL, INDIA'S RULING CONGRESS PARTY IS NOT EXPECTED TO WIN A SUFFICIENTLY CLEAR MAJORITY TO FORM A REGIONAL GOVERNMENT ON ITS OWN. THE CONGRESS PARTY'S MAIN OPPONENT IN THE COMING ELECTION BATTLE IS THE UNITED FRONT, AN AMALGUM OF 12 PARTIES OF STRONGLY OPPOSING VIEWS WHO HAVE JOINED FORCES IN AN ATTEMPT TO OUST THEM FROM POWER; THEY ARE DOMINATED BY THE POWERFUL C.P.I. (MARXIST) COMMUNIST PARTY. BUT EVEN THE COMMUNISTS ARE NOT NOW UNITED AS MAOIST NAXALITES ARE PULLING MANY VOTERS FROM THE ESTABLISHED PARTY.

    THE NAXALITES ARE PROVING ONE OF THE FACTORS MOST DIFFICULT TO ASSESS IN THE FORTHCOMING ELECTION. THEIR CALL, THAT POWER WILL BE WON FROM THE BARREL OF A GUN, IS TO BE SEEN SCRAWLED ON WALLS THROUGHOUT THE AREA. IN RURAL AREAS, MANY MEMBERS OF THE MARXIST C.P.I. HAVE BEEN WON OVER TO THEM.

    THE RULING CONGRESS PARTY, WHOSE 21-YEAR MONOPOLY OF POWER WAS BROKEN IN THE 1967 GENERAL ELECTION, IS MAKING AN ALL-OUT BID FOR THE STATES 3-MILLION MUSLIM VOTERS. RANKING MEMBERS OF THE PARTY HAVE BEEN ADDRESSING RALLIES IN THE STATE, SLOGANS AIMED AT A MUSLIM VOTERS ARE SCRAWLED ON WALLS.

    THE C.P.I. (MARXIST) COMMUNISTS, WHILE SUPPORTING THE UNITED FRONT, ARE ALSO CAMPAIGNING ON THEIR OWN - AND AMONG HIGH-POWERED SPEAKERS TO A ADDRESS MEETINGS IN THE STATE HAVE BEEN JYOTI BASH, MARXIST LEADER IN WEST BENGAL, AND KRISHNA MENON, ONE-TIME INDIAN DEFENCE MINISTER.

    WHATEVER THE OUTCOME OF THE WEST BENGAL ELECTION, AND THE THREE OTHERS BEING FOUGHT THIS WEAK, IT WILL HAVE A DECISIVE EFFECT ON THE FUTURE OF DEMOCRACY IN ASIA, FOR SINCE THE 1967 ELECTIONS WEAKENED THE CONGRESS PARTY, POLITICAL GROUPS OF ALL SHADES HAVE JOINED FORCES IN AN EFFORT TO DEFEAT THEM. AND THE CURRENT BATTLE OF WALL SLOGANS BETWEEN THE TWO VASTLY OPPOSED COMMUNIST PARTIES COULD BECOME MORE THAN INTERESTING - AND SHOULD THE NAXALITES CALL FOR A COMPLETE BOYCOTT BE HEEDED, THE OUTCOME OF SUNDAY'S ELECTION COULD BE EVEN MORE IN THE BALANCE THAN EVEN THE BITTERLY FOUGHT CAMPAIGN WOULD INDICATE.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA8SLIAGMJWUXWBO74DRW3UCGLL
    Media URN:
    VLVA8SLIAGMJWUXWBO74DRW3UCGLL
    Group:
    Reuters - Incuding Visnews
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    07/02/1969
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:02:24:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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