News

DATE=4/26/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-248610 TITLE=INDIA / POLITICS (L) BYLINE=JIM TEEPLE DATELINE=NEW DELHI CONTENT= VOICED AT: // EDS: PRESIDENT IS EXPECTED TO DISSOLVE PARLIAMENT SOON. WATCH CN FILE AND UPDATE INTRO // INTRO: INDIA FACES ITS THIRD NATIONAL ELECTION IN THREE YEARS AFTER THE COUNTRY'S CARETAKER CABINET RECOMMENDED FRESH ELECTIONS ON MONDAY. THE DECISION WAS CONVEYED TO INDIA'S PRESIDENT WHO MUST NOW OFFICIALLY DISSOLVE PARLIAMENT AND CALL NEW ELECTIONS. VOA'S JIM TEEPLE REPORTS MONDAY'S DEVELOPMENT BRINGS AN END TO MORE THAN A WEEK OF POLITICAL TURMOIL IN NEW DELHI FOLLOWING A VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE AGAINST THE GOVERNMENT OF PRIME MINISTER ATAL BEHARI VAJPAYEE ON APRIL 17TH. TEXT: THE DECISION TO CALL FOR NEW ELECTIONS CAME MONDAY AFTER IT BECAME APPARENT ON THAT INDIA'S CONGRESS PARTY COULD NOT FORM A GOVERNMENT. NOW AN ELECTION MUST BE HELD WITHIN SIX MONTHS AND THE ONLY QUESTION IS WILL IT BE AN EARLY POLL IN JUNE OR ONE HELD LATER IN SEPTEMBER AFTER THE WORST OF THE MONSOON SEASON IS OVER. INFORMATION AND BROADCASTING MINISTER PRAMOD MAHAJAN ANNOUNCED THE CABINET DECISION ON MONDAY, SAYING HE AND HIS COLLEAGUES PREFER AN EARLY POLL. // INSERT ACTUALITY // WE FEEL A SEPTEMBER MONSOON IS WORSE THAN A JUNE MONSOON BECAUSE IN SEPTEMBER THERE ARE FLOODS IN THE COUNTRY AND MANY PARTS OF THE COUNTRY ARE INACCESSIBLE. YOU CAN'T CAMPAIGN YOU CAN'T SET BALLOT BOXES AND SECONDLY WE FEEL IT IS NOT IN THE BEST INTERESTS OF THE COUNTRY TO CONTINUE WITH A CARETAKER GOVERNMENT FOR SIX MONTHS. // END ACTUALITY // MR. MAHAJAN ALSO SAYS PRIME MINISTER VAJPAYEE WILL TAKE HIS HINDU NATIONALIST BHARATIYA JANATA PARTY BACK TO THE POLLS. HE SAYS MR. VAJPAYEE WILL ALSO LIKELY BENEFIT FROM VOTER SYMPATHY AFTER BEING DEFEATED BY ONE VOTE IN A CONFIDENCE MOTION LED BY THE CONGRESS PARTY ON APRIL 17TH. FOLLOWING THE VOTE, THE LEADER OF THE CONGRESS PARTY, SONIA GANDHI, THE ITALIAN-BORN WIDOW OF FORMER PRIME MINISTER RAJIV GANDHI, HELD EXHAUSTIVE NEGOTIATIONS WITH SOME OF HER SMALL PARTY ALLIES -- TRYING TO GET THE NECESSARY 272 VOTES TO ACHIEVE A MAJORITY IN PARLIAMENT. SUNDAY NIGHT SHE INFORMED PRESIDENT K-R NARAYANAN SHE WAS GIVING UP. // INSERT GANDHI ACTUALITY // I TOLD THE PRESIDENT THAT I TRIED MY BEST TO CONVINCE OUR COLLEAGUES AND FRIENDS THAT BELONG TO SECULAR PARTIES BUT I HAVE BEEN NOT BEEN ABLE TO CONVINCE THEM. UNFORTUNATELY I FEEL THAT WHILE MANY MANY PARTIES HAVE BEEN VERY SINCERE IN OFFERING THEIR SUPPORT, OTHERS HAVE PUT THEIR OWN PERSONAL INTERESTS BEFORE THE INTERESTS OF THE COUNTRY. // END ACTUALITY // NEWS OF EARLY ELECTION CAUSED THE BOMBAY STOCK MARKET TO DROP FOUR PERCENT AND PUSHED INDIA'S CURRENCY, THE RUPEE, TO NEW LOWS. WHILE ELECTIONS ARE NOW INEVITABLE, THEY ARE NOT WELCOME. INDIA'S LAST ELECTIONS, HELD JUST 13 MONTHS AGO, COST AN ESTIMATED 200 MILLION DOLLARS. SOME BUSINESS LEADERS SAY PUTTING OFF ELECTIONS UNTIL SEPTEMBER WILL MEAN CONTINUED POLITICAL UNCERTAINTY WHICH WILL HURT THE ECONOMY. HOLDING ELECTIONS IN JUNE COULD BE WORSE. AN EARLY HEAT WAVE HAS ALREADY KILLED NEARLY 50 PEOPLE ACROSS INDIA AND BY JUNE AVERAGE TEMPERATURES WILL BE IN THE MID-FORTIES (110 DEGREES FAHRENHEIT) -- MAKING CAMPAIGNING --AND VOTING EXTREMELY DIFFICULT. (SIGNED) NEB/JLT/LTD/KL 26-Apr-99 8:04 AM EDT (1204 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .