Hundreds of supporters cheered former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi when she arrived for her second court appearance, just one day after her breakaway party had triumphed in Karnataka state elections.
Hundreds of supporters cheered former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi when she arrived for her second court appearance, just one day after her breakaway party had triumphed in Karnataka state elections. Mrs. Gandhi, 60, was appearing before Delhi's chief magistrate in connection with two cases filed against her for twice refusing to make a statement under oath before a government inquiry investigating alleged excesses during her 21-month emergency rule.
SYNOPSIS: The political magic of Mrs. Gandhi appeared to be back in business as thousands of her cheering supporters swarmed outside Delhi's magistrate court. Ecstatic of her triumph in the Karnataka and Pradesh state elections, they chanted "Long Live Indira Gandhi".
Her son, Sanjay, was one of the entourage who accompanied Mrs. Gandhi to court. While she led the government, Sanjay was one of the most hated men in India and one of the reasons for her political fall.
Police could barely hold the crowd and had to use rope cordons. During her appearance before Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, P.K. Jain, Mrs. Gandhi's lawyers argued they needed more time to study documents in the case, which carries a possible penalty of six months imprisonment.
After considering counsels' argument the Chief Magistrate postponed the case until March 18. The charge arises out of Mrs. Gandhi's refusal to give evidence before the Shah Commission which was set up to investigate excesses that allegedly occurred during her emergency rule. Mrs. Gandhi has refused to answer questions on the basis that it would divulge government secrets.
In Karnataka, Mrs. Gandhi fought a tireless campaign which centred on the regional hostility towards the north, particularly on the issue of the Hindi language and appealed to region's overwhelming number of women voters. If her success continues it could result in the Congress Party splitting; its moderates moving to the ruling Janata party while the radicals integrate with Mrs. Gandhi's. Her political success could also affect the entire course of the central government's action against her and other members of the former regime.