News

DATE=4/19/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-248290 TITLE=INDIA POLITICS (L) (CQ) BYLINE=JIM TEEPLE DATELINE=NEW DELHI CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: INDIA'S WARRING POLITICAL PARTIES MOMENTARILY PUT ASIDE THEIR DIFFERENCES ON MONDAY AND AGREED TO ADOPT A BUDGET. VOA'S JIM TEEPLE REPORTS THE BUDGET AGREEMENT HAS HELPED TO EASE FEARS OF POLITICAL INSTABILITY FOLLOWING SATURDAY'S VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE AGAINST PRIME MINISTER ATAL BEHARI VAJPAYEE. TEXT: FOLLOWING AN ALL-PARTY MEETING IN PARLIAMENT ON MONDAY, INDIA'S OPPOSITION CONGRESS PARTY AGREED TO ADOPT THE PRO-BUSINESS BUDGET PLAN ON WEDNESDAY WITH NO AMENDMENTS. A FAILURE TO ADOPT THE PLAN WOULD MEAN IMPORTANT TAX CHANGES THAT WERE ADOPTED ON APRIL 1ST WOULD HAVE TO BE REVERSED. THERE HAD BEEN FEARS THE CONGRESS PARTY WOULD EITHER REJECT OR SEEK TO MODIFY THE BUDGET. HOWEVER P-J KURIEN, THE CONGRESS PARTY'S WHIP (FLOOR LEADER) IN PARLIAMENT, SAYS THE LAST THING THE CONGRESS PARTY WANTS AS IT IS TRYING TO FORM A GOVERNMENT IS A FINANCIAL CRISIS. // INSERT KURIEN ACTUALITY // WE DON'T WANT TO CREATE A FINANCIAL CRISIS, SO THEREFORE WE WILL COOPERATE WITH THE GOVERNMENT IN PASSING THE BUDGET. // END ACTUALITY // // OPT // INDIA'S MAIN STOCK EXCHANGE IN BOMBAY RESPONDED FAVORABLY TO THE NEWS RECOVERING SOMEWHAT FROM A SEVEN PERCENT DROP IT EXPERIENCED ON SATURDAY FOLLOWING THE PARLIAMENTARY VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE IN PRIME MINISTER VAJPAYEE. // END OPT // EVEN THOUGH HE LOST THE VOTE OF CONFIDENCE, MR. VAJPAYEE HAS AGREED TO STAY ON AS A CARETAKER UNTIL THE CONGRESS PARTY CAN FORM A NEW GOVERNMENT. SONIA GANDHI, THE ITALIAN-BORN WIDOW OF SLAIN PRIME MINISTER RAJIV GANDHI, SAYS SHE IS READY TO FORM A NEW ADMINISTRATION AND WILL BE ABLE TO GATHER ENOUGH SMALL PARTIES TOGETHER INTO A GOVERNING COALITION. THE CONGRESS PARTY HAS 140 MEMBERS IN PARLIAMENT, WELL SHORT OF A MAJORITY. SUBBARAMI REDDY, A SENIOR LEADER IN THE CONGRESS PARTY, SAYS HIS PARTY WILL GET THE COOPERATION IT NEEDS FROM OTHER PARTIES BECAUSE IF IT DOES NOT, THERE WILL BE NEW ELECTIONS, AND ALMOST NO ONE IN PARLIAMENT WANTS TO FACE AN ANGRY INDIAN ELECTORATE. // INSERT REDDY ACTUALITY // NOBODY IN THE COUNTRY WANTS ELECTIONS. THAT'S SOMETHING NO SMALL PARTY AND NO M-P (MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT) WANTS. THEREFORE THE SITUATION IS SUCH THAT THEY WILL HAVE TO COOPERATE. // END ACTUALITY // THE CONGRESS PARTY HAS NEVER BEEN PART OF A COALITION GOVERNMENT AND LEADERS OF THE BHARATIYA JANATA PARTY, WHO WERE DEFEATED IN SATURDAY'S VOTE, SAY THEY DOUBT WHETHER SONIA GANDHI AND HER LIEUTENANTS WILL BE ABLE TO GET THE VOTES THEY NEED TO ACHIEVE A MAJORITY IN PARLIAMENT. SHANTA KUMAR, A B-J-P MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FROM HIMACHAL PRADESH, SAYS MR. VAJPAYEE SHOULD STAY IN OFFICE OR NEW ELECTIONS SHOULD BE CALLED. // INSERT KUMAR ACTUALITY // WHAT WE SAID EARLIER WAS EITHER VAJPAYEE OR A MID-TERM POLL. THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY THAT THE CONGRESS WON'T BE ABLE TO FORM A GOVERNMENT. THERE ARE SO MANY INTERNAL CONTRADICTIONS WITH THAT. SO I DON'T SEE ANY STABLE GOVERNMENT IN THE FUTURE -- THEY WON'T BE ABLE TO FORM A GOVERNMENT. // END ACTUALITY // IF THE CONGRESS PARTY CANNOT ACHIEVE THE NECESSARY MAJORITY TO FORM A GOVERNMENT ON ITS OWN, IT COULD LEND ITS SUPPORT TO A MINORITY GOVERNMENT LED BY SOME OF ITS REGIONAL OR LEFTIST ALLIES -- SOMETHING THE PARTY DID IN 1996. IT THAT FAILS, NEW ELECTIONS WILL HAVE TO BE CALLED. (SIGNED) NEB/JLT/LTD/KL 19-Apr-99 8:34 AM EDT (1234 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .