India swore in a new Vice-President on Friday (31 August) as the country prepares for new elections.
India swore in a new Vice-President on Friday (31 August) as the country prepares for new elections. Former Chief Justice Minister Mohammed Hidayatullah became India's sixth Vice President, succeeding Mr. Basappa Danappa Jatti, who relinquished his office at the end of his five term. India's feuding political parties, now in the midst of electioneering, temporarily submerged their differences earlier to unanimously agree on the appointment of Mr. Hidayatullah, a Moslem.
The investiture was held in new Delhi, the Ashoka Hall of Rashtrapati Bhavan, with various members of the cabinet, the opposition and the military in attendance. Prime Minister Charan Singh spoke with Mr. Hidayatullah before the ceremony. The oath of office was administered by president Sanjive Reddy. The new Vice President is usually chosen by an electoral college, but this election become unnecessary as all political parties unanimously approved the choice.
Vice President Hidayatullah aged seventy-three was educated at Cambridge University and has had a distinguished career, since becoming, at thirty-seven, India's youngest advocate general.
The next evening, Janata party President Chandra Shekhar spoke at a public rally organized inn sympathy for four former members of parliament on a hunger strike against the Premiership of Charan Singh. Opposition leader Jagjivan Ram was the next speaker. Mr. Ram, an untouchable, has received widespread media attention for his remarks that when seventy percent of the six hundred and fifty million population is illiterate, there would be nothing wrong with having illiterate people in Parliament.
The mass meeting followed the Janata party's first day of conference on election strategy and party platforms. One of the main tasks is to rid itself of the image of a party willing to form coalitions rather than run a strong united party. Policies in the interest of the weaker sections of the party and special attention to social groups like marginal farmers and village artisans will be debated.