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DATE=4/20/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-248344 TITLE=INDIA/POLITICS (L) BYLINE=ANJANA PASRICHA DATELINE=NEW DELHI CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: HECTIC POLITICAL MANEUVERING CONTINUES AMONG INDIA'S OPPOSITION GROUPS, AS THEY COMPETE TO FORM A NEW GOVERNMENT TO REPLACE THE HINDU-NATIONALIST LED COALITION THAT LOST A CONFIDENCE VOTE THREE-DAYS AGO. ANJANA PASRICHA REPORTS, THE "CONGRESS PARTY" EXPECTS TO FORM A GOVERNMENT -- BUT NO CLEAR PICTURE HAS EMERGED ON HOW IT PLANS TO DO THIS. TEXT: THE "CONGRESS PARTY" STEPPED UP EFFORTS (TUESDAY) TO FIND A CONSENSUS WITH OTHER OPPOSITION GROUPS TO FORM A GOVERNMENT. DESPITE DIFFERENCES AMONG OPPOSITION PARTIES, CONGRESS PARTY SPOKESMAN ARJUN SINGH SAYS HIS PARTY WILL GET SUPPORT FROM ALL THESE GROUPS -- AND IS CONFIDENT OF FORMING AN ADMINISTRATION. /// INSERT SINGH ACT /// I CAN TELL YOU VERY CONFIDENTLY WE WILL HAVE THE LETTERS OF SUPPORT FROM ALL THE PARTIES WHO VOTED AGAINST THE MOTION OF CONFIDENCE. /// END SINGH ACT /// THE CONGRESS PARTY HAS JUST A LITTLE MORE THAN ONE-QUARTER OF THE SEATS IN THE 545-MEMBER PARLIAMENT. THE PARTY WANTS TO FORM A MINORITY GOVERNMENT, WITH OPPOSITION GROUPS EXTENDING SUPPORT, BUT NOT BEING A PART OF THE ADMINISTRATION. BUT SOME REGIONAL GROUPS SAY THEY WOULD PREFER TO FORM A COALITION, WITH A SHARE IN GOVERNING. SOME SMALL GROUPS HAVE ALSO SAID THEY WILL OPPOSE A CONGRESS-LED GOVERNMENT. CONGRESS PARTY PRESIDENT, SONIA GANDHI, WHO IS SPEARHEADING EFFORTS TO COBBLE TOGETHER A NEW ADMINISTRATION, MET SENIOR OPPOSITION LEADERS INCLUDING COMMUNIST LEADER JYOTI BASU AND FORMER PRIME MINISTER INDER KUMAR GUJRAL. FOLLOWING THE MEETINGS, MS. GANDHI SAID TALKS ARE CONTINUING TO EVOLVE A CONSENSUS ON A NEW GOVERNMENT. THE TASK OF PUTTING TOGETHER AN ALTERNATIVE GOVERNMENT IS PROVING TO BE DIFFICULT BECAUSE THE OPPOSITION COMPRISES MORE THAN TWO-DOZEN GROUPS, MANY WITH DIVERSE POLITICAL AND IDEOLOGICAL AGENDAS. MEANWHILE, THE "BHARATIYA JANATA PARTY", WHICH LEADS A CARETAKER ADMINISTRATION, HAS NOT ABANDONED HOPES OF STAYING IN POWER. B-J-P VICE PRESIDENT KRISHAN LAL SHARMA SAYS THE OPPOSITION IS GROPING IN THE DARK TO FORM A GOVERNMENT. HE SAYS HIS PARTY IS ALSO COLLECTING LETTERS OF SUPPORT FROM ITS ALLIES -- AND WANTS ANOTHER OPPORTUNITY TO FORM A GOVERNMENT IF OPPOSITION EFFORTS IN THIS DIRECTION FAIL. /// INSERT SHARMA ACT /// WE HOPE, WE HOPE THAT THE PRESIDENT WILL AGAIN CALL AND CONSULT MR. VAJPAYEE BEFORE TAKING ANY DECISION FOR DISSOLVING THE HOUSE (PARLIAMENT). /// END SHARMA ACT /// INDIA HAS HELD TWO ELECTIONS SINCE 1996. BOTH PRODUCED A FRAGMENTED PARLIAMENT GIVING NO SINGLE PARTY A CLEAR MAJORITY -- AND THE LAST THREE PRIME MINISTERS HAVE HAD TO FORGE GOVERNMENTS WITH THE SUPPORT OF SMALLER PARTIES. (SIGNED) NEB/AP/LTD/RAE 20-Apr-99 10:08 AM EDT (1408 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .