Political uncertainty ended in New Delhi yesterday (26 July) when Indian President Sanjiva Reddy invited Mr.
NEW DELHI, INDIA (JULY 26, 1979) (REUTERS)
SV: Congress party leader Mrs Gandhi talking to supporters (2 shots)
GV: Prime Minister designate Charan Singh coming out of his house.
CU: Charan Singh speaking in English at press conference at his house. (5 shots)
SV: Charan Singh posing for photographers with his wife and daughter. (3 shots)
GV: President's House
SV INTERIOR: President Reddy and Charan Singh surrounded by newsmen ZOOM INTO CLOSE UP OF Charan Singh reading his letter (2 shots)
SV: President and Charan Singh talking.
TRANSCRIPT: SINGH: "I say only one thing Mahatma Gandhi dreamt so many dreams for this country and if I'm able to fulfil even one of them, I'll consider myself a fortunate man. The attempt of this new government will be to maintain individual freedoms, to remove poverty to the extent possible, to eliminate unemployment. Whoever says that I had an understanding with Indira Gandhi or that I met her in a secret place, it's an unmitigated lie. Jagjivan Ram and certain other MPs have gone on record that I have talked with them and there were five conditions attached which I accepted etc...and it's all nonsense.."
MARK TULLY: I just wanted to ask has any understanding been reached with Congress, I mean about the ration of the parties?"
SINGH: "That does not arise. They've not even taken a decision whether they will join the government or not, but I hope they will. I suggested that they should."
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
Background: Political uncertainty ended in New Delhi yesterday (26 July) when Indian President Sanjiva Reddy invited Mr. Charan Singh, leader of the breakaway Janata Party, to form India's next government. It marked the end of twelve days of confusion following Mr. Morarji Desai's resignation as Prime Minister on July the 15th. The crisis was sparked off by Mr Singh's defection from Mr. Desai's Janata party to form his own breakaway secular faction. Both Mr Desai and Mr Singh have been lobbying hard for support, but the balance of power shifted on Monday (23 July) when former prime minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi leader of the Congress party, backed Mr. Singh.
Mrs. Gandhi's alliance with Mr. Singh is curious to say the least. relations between the two factions have been stormy as Mrs. Gandhi jailed Mr. Singh along with thousands of her political opponents during her twenty-one month emergency rule. The Janata party to which Mr. Singh belongs was in fact only formed two years ago when various groups joined together to defeat Mrs. Gandhi. Many observers are sceptical as to how long the Gandhi-Singh alliance will last. But Mr. Singh was confident when speaking to Mark Tully.
Mr. Singh hoped to have a government formed by Saturday (28 July) but the real test will come later as President Reddy has asked Mr. Singh to seek a vote of confidence in Parliament by the third week of August. Eighty-three year old Mr. Desai received President Reddy's decision with his customary cool, but he has suffered an undignified fall from power after returning to politics in a blaze of glory two years ago -- His prestige having had been eroded by the ineffectiveness of his government and fighting within the party ranks.