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DATE=1/30/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=INDIA - CONSTITUTION (L-O) NUMBER=2-258577 BYLINE=ANJANA PASRICHA DATELINE=NEW DELHI INTERNET=YES CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: India's opposition Congress Party leader, Sonia Gandhi, was detained briefly (Sunday) while leading a march to protest a planned constitutional review by the Hindu-nationalist-led government. Anjana Pasricha reports from New Delhi. TEXT: Congress Party leader Sonia Gandhi and several other party officials were arrested and later released for leading a noisy march to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's residence. The party is protesting what it calls - attempts by the government to subvert the constitution. The Congress Party pledges to fight what it calls - the growth of communal forces and an assault on the constitution. Earlier this week, as India celebrated the 50th anniversary of its Republic Day, Prime Minister Vajpayee announced his government would establish a commission to review India's constitution. He said this has become necessary to ensure political stability and faster socio-economic growth. The government's proposal is being sharply attacked by the Congress Party as well as left and socialist parties. They fear Mr. Vajpayee's Hindu-nationalist party may try to ensure fixed five-year terms for parliament, or change the country's political system from parliamentary to presidential. The parties say this may be done under what they say is - the guise of creating political stability. The opposition parties also express fear the government may tamper with the secular character of the constitution. Congress Party leader Kapil Sibal says the constitution has worked well, and does not need to be reviewed. He says the government's plea for stability will not solve the country's problems. /// SIBAL ACT /// Political stability on its own terms will not bring about the good of the people. We have had stable governments in the past, but the basic needs of the people have still not been satisfied. Will it ensure the that they (the government) will be rid of poverty, that the country will get 100-percent literacy, that people no longer live below the poverty line? These are the basic issues facing the people. Political stability is only a bogey (disguise) to make sure they continue in power. It is nothing to do with the good of the people. /// END ACT /// A powerful lower-caste leader from Uttar Pradesh State, Mulayem Singh Yadav, said Saturday he would launch a nationwide protest if the government tampers with the constitution. Indian President K-R Narayanan has also cautioned the government about its plans, saying - we have to consider whether it is the constitution that has failed us, or we who have failed the constitution. Law Minister Ram Jethmalani defends the government's decision, saying it does not plan to alter the basic structure of the constitution, but merely to have a fresh look to see how it can serve the country better. Despite the outcry, the government says it will proceed with the review. It says a commission to do so will be established in the next two-weeks. /// REST OPT /// The Congress party also targeted the Gujarat state government during its (Sunday) protest. It says it is concerned about the state government's decision to allow government employees to become members of a Hindu-nationalist group. (SIGNED) NEB/AP/ALW/RAE 30-Jan-2000 09:46 AM EDT (30-Jan-2000 1446 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .