News

DATE=4/16/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-248185 TITLE=INDIA POLITICS (L) BYLINE=JIM TEEPLE DATELINE=NEW DELHI CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: INDIA'S BELEAGUERED HINDU NATIONALIST DOMINATED COALITION GOVERNMENT GOT A SMALL BOOST OF SUPPORT ON FRIDAY. A SMALL PARTY THAT CONTROLS FOUR SEATS IN PARLIAMENT ANNOUNCED IT WAS THROWING ITS SUPPORT TO PRIME MINISTER ATAL BEHARI VAJPAYEE. V-O-A'S JIM TEEPLE REPORTS THAT THE OUTCOME FOR A SCHEDULED VOTE OF CONFIDENCE SET FOR SATURDAY IS STILL TOO CLOSE TO CALL. // INSERT ACTUALITY OF SHOUTING // TEXT: IT WAS AS HOT INSIDE PARLIAMENT FRIDAY AS IT WAS OUTSIDE. AS M-P'S CAME AND WENT IN THE SWELTERING SUN, DEBATE RAGED INSIDE PARLIAMENT. ALLIES OF PRIME MINISTER ATAL BEHARI VAJPAYEE OPENLY QUESTIONED WHETHER ITALIAN-BORN SONIA GANDHI, THE LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION CONGRESS PARTY COULD LEAD INDIA -- CALLING HER A FOREIGNER. CONGRESS PARTY LEADERS AND THEIR ALLIES CONTINUE TO EXPRESS OPTIMISM ABOUT BRINGING DOWN MR. VAJAPEE'S COALITION GOVERNMENT IN A CONFIDENCE VOTE ON SATURDAY. ON WEDNESDAY, A KEY COALITION PARTNER IN THE VAJPAYEE GOVERNMENT, JAYARAM JAYALALITHA, WHO CONTROLS 18 SEATS IN PARLIAMENT WITHDREW SUPPORT FROM THE GOVERNMENT SPARKING THE CRISIS. MS. JAYALALITHA, WHO HEADS A REGIONAL PARTY FROM THE SOUTHERN INDIAN STATE OF TAMIL NADU, SAYS SHE HAS NO DOUBTS HER FORMER ALLIES WILL BE OUT OF A JOB ON SATURDAY AND THAT A NEW GOVERNMENT WILL EMERGE. // INSERT JAYALALITHA ACTUALITY // THE VOTING IS ON SATURDAY -- THIS GOVERNMENT WILL FALL ON SATURDAY. AFTER THAT YOU WILL FIND THAT THINGS WILL BEGIN TO HAPPEN WITH LIGHTENING SPEED. // END ACTUALITY // SATURDAY'S CONFIDENCE VOTE WILL BE THE FIFTH IN THREE YEARS. IF MR. VAJPAYEE LOSES HE IS OUT OF A JOB. IF HE LOSES AND NO GOVERNMENT CAN BE FORMED, NEW ELECTIONS MUST BE CALLED FOR THE THIRD TIME IN FOUR YEARS. // OPT // EARLY FRIDAY, THINGS LOOKED BLEAK FOR THE PRIME MINISTER. HE WAS WELL SHORT OF THE 271 VOTES ANALYSTS SAY HE NEEDS TO ACHIEVE A SIMPLE MAJORITY IN PARLIAMENT AND STAY IN OFFICE. HOWEVER, LATE IN THE DAY MR. VAJPAYEE PICKED UP FOUR VOTES FROM A SMALL FARMERS PARTY IN NORTH INDIA TO ADD TO SIX VOTES HE PICKED UP ON THURSDAY FROM ANOTHER SMALL PARTY IN SOUTHERN INDIA. ALSO LATE IN THE DAY, ONE INDEPENDENT M-P SIGNALED HE, TOO, WILL BACK MR. VAJPAYEE, PUTTING THE PRIME MINISTER ONE OR TWO VOTES SHY OF A MAJORITY AND ABOUT EIGHT VOTES AHEAD OF THE CONGRESS PARTY. // END OPT // MR. VAJPAYEE IS COUNTING ON THE SUPPORT OF SMALLER REGIONAL PARTIES TO PUT HIS GOVERNMENT OVER THE TOP ON SATURDAY. VENKAIAH NAIDU, A SPOKESMAN FOR THE HINDU-NATIONALIST BHARITIYA JANATA PARTY OF PRIME MINISTER VAJPAYEE SAYS THE PRIME MINISTER'S STRATEGY IS PAYING OFF. // INSERT NAIDU ACTUALITY // WE ARE NOT IN TOUCH WITH INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS WE ARE IN TOUCH WITH POLITICAL PARTIES. WE HAVE GIVEN AN OPEN CALL FOR REALIGNMENT. I'M HAPPY THAT THE REALIGNMENT IS TAKING PLACE AND THAT IT HAS ALREADY STARTED. // END ACTUALITY // STILL THE VOTE IN INDIA'S LOK SABHA, OR LOWER HOUSE OF PARLIAMENT, IS TOO CLOSE TO CALL. NEWS OF THE PRIME MINISTER'S CHANGING FORTUNES CAUSED INDIA'S STOCK MARKET TO JUMP MORE THAN SIX-PERCENT LATE FRIDAY. ANALYSTS SAY THE JUMP HAS LESS TO DO WITH MR. VAJPAYEE'S POPULARITY AND MORE WITH INVESTORS' HOPES THAT IF THE PRIME MINISTER SURVIVES ON SATURDAY HIS GOVERNMENT WILL BE ABLE TO PASS A BUDGET. (SIGNED) NEB/JLT/LTD/GE 16-Apr-99 8:11 AM EDT (1211 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .