India's former Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, is facing increasing opposition over her son, Sanjay's?
India's former Prime Minister, Mrs. Indira Gandhi, is facing increasing opposition over her son, Sanjay's reappearance in public life. At a convention of her party over the week-end (21-22 April), the Chief Minister of the important Karnataka State, Mr. Dev Raj Urs, said he would "expose" all those who were trying to reinstate Sanjay Gandhi. When Mrs. Gandhi objected, Mr. Urs left the hall for several hours before he was persuaded to return by Mrs. Gandhi's advisors.
SYNOPSIS: The convention of Mrs. Gandhi's branch of the Congress Party is being held in New Delhi. Both Mrs. Gandhi and her son, Sanjay, are facing trial for alleged offenses during her twenty-one month emergency rule. The former Prime Minister has been enjoying an upswing in popularity in several states -- particularly in the South. Mr. Dev Raj Urs, who walked out of this convention, gave Mrs. Gandhi his full support in a by-election in Southern India last November.
Mrs. Gandhi won the by-election and Mr. Urs continued to give her strong backing. This has enabled Mrs. Gandhi to retain a majority of Congress Party MPs within the fold of her breakaway faction. Continued support from the southern states also means she is still a strong political force in Indian politics.
Mrs. Gandhi has repeatedly denied that she is trying to give her son a political platform. Sanjay Gandhi is not popular with leaders in the South -- including Mr. Urs. Observers in Delhi say Mrs. Gandhi cannot count on the support of her Southern patrons for too long.