The former Indian Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, attracted large crowds as she campaigned for?
The former Indian Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, attracted large crowds as she campaigned for her party's candidate in a vital parliamentary by-election in the Samastipur Province of North India. Earlier this month, Mrs. Gandhi scored a personal triumph in a South Indian by-election. A second Opposition victory could be a major blow to Prime Minister Morarji Desai's Janata government.
SYNOPSIS: Samastipur, in India's Bihar state, is in the Hindi-speaking heartland, where the ruling Janata party built its power base during last year's general elections. The party won the seat by a majority of 336,000 votes compared to Mrs. Gandhi's party's 74,000 votes. Mrs Gandhi arrived in Samastipur on Thursday (23 November) and immediately plunged herself into the campaign.
The Congress party's nominee is a former Deputy Finance Minister, Mrs Tarkeshwari Sinha. Her opponent is a little-known lecturer, Mr. Ajit Kumar Meha. In her campaigning, Mrs. Gandhi has accused the Janata government of failing to protect the untouchables and of allowing law and order to deteriorate. Nearly 10,000 military and reserve police have been put on alert in what has been called one of the most volatile and caste-conscious states in India.