In India, the battle for premiership is still wide open and by Monday (16 July), two candidates had announced their candidacy for the post of Prime Minister.
In India, the battle for premiership is still wide open and by Monday (16 July), two candidates had announced their candidacy for the post of Prime Minister. India's outgoing Premier, Mr. Morarji Desai, resigned on Sunday (15 July,) after a week-long revolt in the Janata Party, which wiped out his majority in Parliament.
SYNOPSIS: Mr. Morarji Desai has been in office even since defeating former Premier, Indira Gandhi, in the 1977 elections. But on Sunday, Mr. Desai made the trip to the Presidential Palace in Delhi to hand his resignation to President Sanjiva Reddy. The Indian President asked him to remain on as caretaker Prime Minister, until a new government was formed. Mr. Desai's Janata Party had lost its majority in Parliament the week before, and faced a censure motion within days.
The man thought most likely to succeed Mr. Desai is currently India's Deputy Premier and Defence minister, Mr. Jagjivam Ram. He is the leader of India's one hundred million Harijans -- the so-called 'Untouchables'. He had threatened to resign if Mr. Desai refused to go. Earlier, the campaign for Mr. Desai's departure resulted in the resignations of thirteen Government ministers and a hundred Janata Party supporters in the Indian Parliament.
Another Janata Party personality who campaigned strongly for Mr. Desai's resignation was Industry Minister, George Fernandes (on the right). But the man who led the revolt was Mr. Raj Narain, whose newly-formed Janata Secular Party was intended to form a new government. Further evidence of the Janata Party crisis was the resignation of Petroleum Minister, Mr. H.M. Bahuguna.
A wildcat strike by ten thousand water and sewage workers worsened the political crisis. Residents in the capital, Delhi, have to queue for water, and there is the ever-present threat of cholera and typhoid epidemics.
Health officials have warned that all water should be boiled before use. For the moment, the political crisis has ruled out quick effective action to end the strike.