Several Indian opposition groups have formed a new political party with the aim of defeating Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in national elections.
GV ZOOM TO SVs Former Premier Charan Singh seated with former Deputy Premier, H.N. Bahuguna to his right and Salim Ali to his left. (3 SHOTS)
GV ZOOM TO SVs Charan Singh speaking. (English SOT) (2 SHOTS)
CU Former Deputy Premier Bahuguna speaking while others listen. (English SOT)
TRANSCRIPT: SINGH: (SEQ 2)".....the Lok Dal, most of whose members are present here, as also the Democratic Socialist Party, and lastly Congress whose members are also here. (indistinct) ... also decided to form a new political party."
BAHUGUNA: (SEQ 3) "Both the fast deteriorating situation in the country and the proximity of the electoral (indistinct) ahead compels us to make a start without wasting further time. We wish to make it clear however, that there is no intention to exclude others. On the contrary, we earnestly hope that forces of national unity and regeneration will gradually gather strength."
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Background: Several Indian opposition groups have formed a new political party with the aim of defeating Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in national elections. The grouping, which as yet has no formal name since it hopes to attract more factions under its banner, is to be led by former Premier Charan Singh. Already committed to the party are the Democratic Socialist Party (DSP), the Lok Dal, a breakaway faction of the Congress Party, and segments of the Janata party. DSP leader H.N. Bahuguna told a news conference that the merger would mean that Mrs Gandhi would lose the Hindi-speaking belt of India, and would therefore lose the election. The Hindi belt is made up by four northern states: Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya and Bihar. Together they command 189 of the 544 seats in the Lower House of Parliament. Bahuguna said the party manisfesto would call for a break up of large farms, a redistribution of surplus land to the landless, and a massive public works programme. Political analysts say the opposition in India can only hope to defeat Gandhi if they unite. So far three important groups with 65 seats between them in the Lower House have not joined the new party.