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DATE=8/16/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=INDIA ELECTION L-ONLY NUMBER=2-252826 BYLINE=JIM TEEPLE DATELINE= CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: India's governing coalition has issued its election platform -- pledging to lower unemployment and seek 10-billion dollars a year in direct foreign investment. Correspondent Jim Teeple reports from our New Delhi bureau, India's prime minister, who goes into upcoming national elections well ahead of his rivals, has ruled out a quick decision about whether to sign the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. Text: Polls show that if the election were to be held tomorrow Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee would easily win a clear mandate to govern. Mr. Vajpayee's "Bharitiya Janata Party" is the largest in a coalition known as the National Democratic Alliance. Balloting will begin on September 5th and continue at weekly intervals until October 3rd. Recent polls show the B-J-P alliance well ahead of its principal rivals, "The Congress Party" and its allies. The "Congress Party" alliance is led by Sonia Gandhi, the Italian-born widow of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi who was assassinated in 1991. Several recent survey's show Mr. Vajpayee's coalition winning more than 320-seats in India's 545-seat lower house, enough to form a government on its own. Mr. Vajpayee says even if he wins the election with a clear mandate to govern, he will not move quickly to sign the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty. He says he will seek a national consensus on whether the treaty is in India's best interests. // VAJPAYEE ACT // There has to be a broad national consensus. We are trying to evolve that consensus. After the elections a final decision will be taken in this regard. // END ACT // Mr. Vajpayee says that consensus must include opposition parties. The Prime Minister had pledged to sign the test ban treaty before September. But that pledge was made before his government collapsed in April, following a parliamentary confidence motion led by the "Congress Party". India and Pakistan have come under intense international pressure to sign the treaty since their nuclear tests in 1998. The countries came close to starting their fourth war after fighting erupted this year on the Indian side of the Kashmir border. India blames Pakistan for sending paramilitary troops and Islamic guerrillas into its territory. Pakistan denies involvement in the 11-week conflict. Speaking Sunday at India's Independence Day celebrations, Mr. Vajpayee ruled out peace with Pakistan unless, as he put it -- Pakistan stops training and arming Islamic militants in Kashmir. As he unveiled his coalition's election agenda (Monday), the Prime Minister softened his tone. He said a meeting ground between Pakistan and India will have to be found following the election and efforts will be made in that regard. The Prime Minister has seen his personal popularity soar following his handling of the Kashmir crisis. With approval ratings of higher than 70-percent Mr. Vajpayee enjoys much more support than the coalition he will likely lead back to power in October. // REST OPT // The B-J-P led alliance says if it is able to form a government in October it will move to enact a law allowing only native-born Indians to serve in high positions in India's Legislative, Judicial, and Executive Branches of government. The issue of Sonia Gandhi's Italian origins has become a heated political controversy, even within her own party. Three leading regional Congress Party leaders were forced to resign after they raised the issue at a Party meeting in May. (SIGNED) NEB/JLT/RAE 16-Aug-1999 08:31 AM LOC (16-Aug-1999 1231 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .