India's political allies who combined to defeat Mrs Gandhi in the March general elections, formally merged into one party on Sunday (1 May).
GV: crowds arrive at Janata Party Convention (2 shots)
GV ZOOM INTO SV Mr Kriplani and Indian Prime Minister Morarji Desai seated on dais.
MV: Charan Singh and Mr Thakur talking.
CU: Mrs. Pandit
CU PULL OUT TO MV delegates speaking.
MV: Jagjivan Ram speaking watched and applauded by crowd. (4 shots)
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Background: India's political allies who combined to defeat Mrs Gandhi in the March general elections, formally merged into one party on Sunday (1 May). The four elements in the ruling Janata conglomerate dissolved their separate organisations and became a single party at an inaugural conference in New Delhi.
Acting President of India, Danappa Jatti, on Saturday (30 April) signed a proclamation, after at first refusing to do so, dissolving the legislative assemblies of nine northern Indian States, still ruled by the Congress Party. Prime Minister Desai wants to hold elections in the states as soon as possible. The states are under presidential rule in the meantime.
SYNOPSIS: On the eve of the conference, the main electoral ally of the opposition parties, the Congress for Democracy, announced in an unexpected move that it too would merge with the Janata party.
The gathering of the leaders of the former opposition parties at the conference for the formal merger leaves only two main political bodies in India, the Janata and the opposition Congress party. Under Prime Minister Morarji Desai the Convention is carrying out the final ideas of 74-year-old pacifist reformer Jayaprakash Narayan, who inspired the original formation of the alliance.
Mr Jagjivan Ram, the popular leader of the Congress for Democracy Party, and Defence Minister under the new government, said his party would make a formal announcement on the merger after its national council meets later in the week. Until the day before the conference, his party had let it be known it would be keeping its separate identity. So the announcement on the morning of the conference that it would join the alliance came as a surprise. The conference elected unanimously Mr Chandra Sekhar as president of the new party. Mr Sekhar, who is 49, was one of the few leaders of the Congress Party who rebelled against Mrs Gandhi before she imposed the state of emergency.