View Full Version : Gandhi-Led Opposition Wins in India

May 13, 2004, 09:13 AM
NEW DELHI (A.P) - The Gandhi political dynasty in India prepared for a return to power Thursday after it was handed a stunning victory that reflected anger among millions of India's rural poor over being left out of the economic boom fostered by the current government.

The party of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee conceded the vote, leaving Sonia Gandhi, the Italian-born widow of the former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, to take the helm of the world's largest democracy.

It was one of the most dramatic political upsets since Indian independence almost 60 years ago.

"We have not got the mandate of the people," said Venkaiah Naidu, president of Vajpayee's Bharatiya Janata Party. He said the decision to concede the race was made at a 90-minute meeting of the party and its coalition partners.

The opposition Congress Party and its allies had already claimed victory, and some promised that Gandhi, the party leader, would be the next prime minister. There was still no official decision, however, and she must form a coalition with leftist parties that could object to her taking the leadership role in part because of her foreign origins.

After more than eight hours of vote-counting for 539 of Parliament's 543 elected seats, official results showed Congress and its allies were leading Vajpayee's 11-member National Democratic Alliance 145 to 119 seats.

George Fernandes, defense minister under Vajpayee, said the new Parliament could meet as early as Monday.

It was an embarrassing defeat for Vajpayee's Hindu nationalist-led government, which had called elections six months early because it felt confident of winning an even bigger majority in Parliament, based on the roaring economy and prospects of peace with Pakistan.

Before the five-phased elections, which began April 20, Vajpayee and his alliance had been expected to win enough seats to eventually form a government and rule the country for another five years.

But Congress focused its campaign on the country's 300 million people who still live on less than a dollar a day. It hammered away at the lack of even basic infrastructure, electricity and potable water for millions of rural poor.

A leader in Vajpayee's coalition said the results were "totally against our expectations."

Pakistan expressed confidence Thursday that the peace process would continue despite the NDA defeat. Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed told The Associated Press that the process involved the two governments, not "individual personalities."

Gandhi has pushed for a secular India in contrast to the BJP's Hindu nationalist message. Her two children, Rahul and Priyanka, are up-and-coming politicians and state-run television reported that Rahul won his race to enter parliament for the first time.

The Gandhi dynasty dominated Indian politics since independence from British colonial rule in 1947. Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first prime minister, headed the country from independence until his 1964 death. He was followed by his daughter, Indira Gandhi, who was killed by her own bodyguards in 1984.

Rajiv, her son and Sonia's husband, took power and ruled until 1989. Two years later, he too was assassinated.

The family is not related to Mohandas Gandhi, India's independence leader.

During the campaign, Mahajan had called Gandhi's Indian-born children foreigners and had stoked the debate dubbed the "Sonia factor" over whether a foreign-born citizen should rule India.

Outside Sonia Gandhi's residence, supporters celebrated, beat drums, and set off firecrackers.

"They said she is a foreigner, but people have given them a reply," said Rati Lal Kala, 35, carrying a huge Congress flag and wearing a scarf in Congress colors. "The BJP has only played with the people's emotions. This should be a lesson for them."

Leftist parties, which have promised to support a Congress-led government, also appeared to be doing well and they could give the opposition the edge it would need to take power.

The benchmark index of the Bombay Stock Exchange, the Sensex, opened 3.3 percent lower, at 5179.99 points, in early trading. Within an hour, however, stocks had recovered to hit 5339.81 points, a drop of 0.34 percent.

New Delhi Television reporting trends from 535 constituencies, said Congress and its allies would likely win 218 seats, compared to 195 for the Bharatiya Janata Party-led governing coalition, and 122 for others.

With the first official seats reported, Congress and its allies were leading Vajpayee's Bharatiya Janata Party 36 seats to 21, from the 539 constituencies being counted. Repolling was being held in four other constituencies, because of violence and snags with electronic voting machines.

Digital ballots have been compiled at 1,214 centers in major cities and towns throughout this diverse nation of more than 1 billion people.

More than 380 million voters participated in five phases of balloting that began April 20. Forty-eight people died in election violence, less than half the deaths in the last elections in 1999.

Carte Blanche
May 13, 2004, 09:36 AM
BJP decided to gamble with an early election. They lost it all. I was watching the news, and they were talking about Sonia Gandhi's Italian heritage. I know that in the US a non-american-born citizen can not be a president. Is there any such similar rule in India too? Can Sonia be the PM?

May 13, 2004, 09:39 AM
Is there any such similar rule in India too? Can Sonia be the PM?

You only have to be an Indian citizen, which means that Sonia can be PM

May 13, 2004, 09:40 AM
Originally posted by Carte Blanche
I know that in the US a non-american-born citizen can not be a president. Is there any such similar rule in India too? Can Sonia be the PM?

No, there is no such rule in India. BJP wanted to make a law regarding this if they could win.

So, there is no problem for her to be the PM, except that she needs to have support from members from other parties say leftists to have majority.

May 13, 2004, 09:42 AM
Going very offtopic, what is the difference between a rule and a law ?

May 13, 2004, 09:46 AM
Originally posted by Tintin
Going very offtopic, what is the difference between a rule and a law ?

I may not explain well. This is from my experience in Bangladesh situation.

The basic difference is that to make a rule into a law, it should be passed through the parliament by the majority.

May 13, 2004, 11:12 AM
Good riddance to BJP rubbish. Maybe we can take a cue and get rid of Jamaat and their funda brethren. Maybe ship Jammat and BJP/RSS of to the Carribean to watch cricket and drink rum together!

May 13, 2004, 06:09 PM
Spain and India; pity about Russia. So far so good. Let's hope the trend continues with all the other elections this year :)

May 13, 2004, 07:38 PM
Well, you forgot Brazil and Venezuela.

May 14, 2004, 01:58 AM
It shows people have the ultimate power. Mr Vajpayee lost because he did not pay attention to the needs of the poorer community.BJP forgot to balance the economically privileged with the poor and that cost them dearly. BJP's middleclass oriented economic policies and fundamentalistic stance ruined their chances.But Congress also needs to carry on with the economic reforms of the BJP otherwise this economic boom will slowly die down.

May 15, 2004, 03:01 PM
:great: Happy Day for me and the majority of the indians who are secular. Once again the electorate has proved that if the govt does not perform it will be kicked out and that mandir-masjid are not election issues but food clothing and housing are issues for which people cast their vote..............:bravo: Democracy rocks

May 15, 2004, 06:58 PM
Sonia Gandhi has no experience in politics & my prediction is within one year, she will find it difficult to run this coalition.

May 17, 2004, 02:39 AM
Link : (http://www.moneycontrol.com/news/tradinghours/newsdetail_new.php?filename=markets17052004113245. htm)

This has been the aftereffect of the change of government :

No respite! Trading halted again for 2 hours

Trading has been halted once again, this time for two hours, after resuming this morning. The Sensex has tanked 15.52%, and the Nifty 17.47%.

The Sensex has dipped almost 786.89 points at 4282.98 while the Nifty crashed almost 276.40 points at 1306. The indices are currently at an 8-month low.

This is the biggest fall recorded on the indices ever as the markets gave up almost Rs 1.36 lakh crore in market capitalization in morning trade. Heavyweights like HPCL, HLL, Dr Reddy?s Labs dipped to their 52-week lows. Political developments have impacted the markets in a big way as the investors did not take the news that the CMP will be announced in another 4-5 days kindly.

On the political front the Left is yet to take a decision on joining the government while Congress President Sonia Gandhi is to meet the President to stake a claim to form the government. The fall in the Asian markets, and US interest hike concerns have also delivered a double whammy to the markets back home. This is the first time trading has been halted since the circuit breaker was put

Link (http://in.rediff.com/money/2004/may/17stock.htm)

Stock market loses Rs 3 lakh crore

The stock markets on Monday crashed, witnessing a historic fall of 16 per cent in a day triggered by uncertainty over economic reforms and policies of the new government at the Centre.

The plunge, which started on Friday after the Left parties took a hard line against divestment, has cost investors about Rs 300,000 crore (Rs 3 trillion) during the two trading days.

Reacting to the development, the Left parties said the market crash did not have any link with the economic fundamentals and was in fact the result of the "influence" the foreign institutional investors have on the trading system.

[Edited on 17-5-2004 by Tintin]

May 17, 2004, 08:11 AM
I know very little about Indian politics, but my general impression is that Congress was really not prepared for this win. More importantly, Congress was probably not prepared to form a government--there is no clear "strong leader". If they somehow patch together a coalition with a "weak leader", this whole episode can only lead to one long-term outcome: BJP's next win in the elections will only be more emphatic than it's last. I do not think this election signals a reversal in the trend toward religious nationalist government in India--if my above suspicions prove true, it will probably provide an opportunity to further strengthen that trend. But then again, what do I know about Indian politics?

May 17, 2004, 11:44 PM
A muslim president and a roman catholic prime minister of italian origin. Now thats what I call a democracy! Whoever said India wasn't a secular state.

May 18, 2004, 08:38 AM
NEW DELHI: Congress President Sonia Gandhi has declined to become the Prime Minister despite leading her party to a spectacular comeback in elections, a senior party leader said on Tuesday.

He said she had made known her decision to the party on Monday evening itself.

Sonia, who is being persuaded by senior leaders of her party and the victorious multi-party United Progressive Alliance to change her mind, has apparently recommended Manmohan Singh and Pranab Mukherjee, both senior leaders of her party, for the job.

Senior Congress leaders immediately went into a huddle on Tuesday afternoon and many sounded dispirited over the course of events.

Many others, when contacted, were not aware of the developments that were taking place behind closed doors and in the presence of only very senior leaders and her confidants.

Others preferred to wait and watch, hoping against hope that the person who had led the party and alliance to a stunning victory in the elections would still change her mind.

The dramatic developments come on a day she and Manmohan Singh met President A P J Abdul Kalam and discussed government formation.
She will meet him again on Wednesday with letters of support from all coalition partners and stake claim to form government.

"We were called for preliminary discussion on formation of government. The President was keen to know about the parties which are supporting us from outside and those who are supporting us from inside, which means pre-poll allies.

"We explained to him these issues. He also told us that he has received letters of support from the Samajwadi Party and RLD. We shall meet the President tomorrow with letters of support from all coalition partners and then we shall proceed from there on," Sonia Gandhi told reporters at the forecourt of Rashtrapati Bhavan after a 20-minute meeting with Kalam.

Sonia said at the moment the Left parties are not participating in the government and will support it from outside. "Similarly the DMK is for the moment supporting from outside," she said. Asked when the swearing-in ceremony is, Sonia said, "You will see it very soon".

Source:Times of India

May 18, 2004, 11:25 AM
Sonia would not be Prime Minister. She officially disclosed it in front of Leaders & Parliamentary members of Congress. She told, from her internal soul she has been taken this decision. The leaders of the Congress still trying to convince to change the decision of her, root level supporters and workers have been gather in front of her residence.

Noticeable thing is she did not mention or proposed any name of Pm instead of her. But two names, Mr. Mon Mohon and Mr. Pranab Mukherjee, are uttering in some level.

Congress alliance party, CPM & CPI think that probably negative opinion of her son and daughter, Rahul & Priannka, she took this decision, Mr. Joti Basu, Veteran leftist leader, opined that Rahul & Priannka would have been expected life threat if their mother being PM.

The thing is really a jerk for India. Tomorrow will be a dramatically day for Indian politics, observers think.

18.05.04 at 9 pm, IND ETV Cable TV news
More (http://www.reuters.co.uk/newsPackageArticle.jhtml?type=topNews&storyID=513180&section=news)

[Edited on 18-5-2004 by mzia]

May 19, 2004, 12:28 PM
Sonia proposed the name of Dr. Mon Mohan Sing as PM, before Dr. Mohan became the leader of congress parliamentary members. Tomorrow he will be take oath as PM.

Dr. Mohan, 20 years old in politics, was always in low profile, adjudges a good reformer of liberal economics.

He would be the first Sikh PM of India.

Due to him, the opportunity of to be the first Bangali PM foiled again, Mr. Pranb Mukharjee was also one of the contender of PM this time.

Before once Joty Basu went to very close to be PM.

Well who is the main beneficiary of this Drama?

1. Dr. Mohan, as he got the opportunity to be the PM?

2. BJP & Alliance, as they have been succeeded to oppose Sonia?

3. Congress, as get rid of common permanent blame lead by a foreigner?

4. Or Sonia, ?????

Before drawing any conclusion here is
some subsequent movement in Congress-

Congress has been created a post of Chair Person.

That person is the supreme authority to control every thing of the party even possess the power to change the PM, of course with the consent of all the party parliament members.

If Sonia got this position she will be more powerful than PM with lesser risk.

Safe from the attack as foreigner &

As the Present Govt. will be depended on coalition, its duration would be more challenging but she will not be directly visible.

So I think, Sonia became a bona fide Gandhi...

Well move by minister powered by knight…

May 20, 2004, 10:28 PM
India is going to have an extra-ordinary talent as their PM.

Dr Manmohan Singh, who will be sworn in as prime minister this weekend, is the most highly qualified occupant of the prime minister's office.

How do his predecessors compare with him?

Dr Manmohan Singh

MA, D Phil (Oxford). Educated at the Universities of Panjab, Cambridge and Oxford. Winner of the University Medal for standing first in BA (Hons), Economics, Panjab University, Chandigarh, 1952; the Uttar Chand Kapur Medal, Panjab University, Chandigarh, for standing first in MA (Economics) 1954; Wright's Prize for distinguished performance at St John's College, Cambridge, 1956 and 1957; Adam Smith Prize, University of Cambridge 1956.

Atal Bihari Vajpayee

Educated at Victoria (now Laxmi Bai) College, Gwalior, and DAV College, Kanpur. Vajpayee holds an MA in political science.

Inder Kumar Gujral

MA, BCom.

H D Deve Gowda

Diploma in civil engineering.

P V Narasimha Rao
B Sc, LLB, Sahitya Ratna. Educated at Fergusson College, Pune, and Nagpur University.

Chandra Shekhar

MA in Political Science from Allahabad University.

V P Singh

BA, BSc, LL.B. Educated at Allahabad and Poona University.

Rajiv Gandhi

Went to Trinity College, Cambridge, but soon shifted to the Imperial College in London. He did a course in mechanical engineering. Short stint at the London School of Economics.

Charan Singh

Science graduate, 1923, and post-graduate from Agra University in 1925. Also trained in law.

Morarji Desai

Graduate from Wilson College in the then Bombay province in 1918.

Indira Gandhi

Studied at Ecole Nouvelle, Bex (Switzerland), Ecole Internationale, Geneva, Pupils' Own School, Poona and Bombay, Badminton School, Bristol, Vishwa Bharati, Shantiniketan and Somerville College, Oxford. No documented degree. Honorary doctorates from a host of Indian and foreign universities.

Lal Bahadur Shastri

Gave up studies at 16 to respond to Mahatma Gandhi's call for satyagraha. Bachelor's degree (Shastri) from Kashi Vidyapeeth in Varanasi.

Gulzarilal Nanda

Twice caretaker prime minister (May 27 to June 9, 1964 and January 11 to 24, 1966). Educated at Lahore, Agra and Allahabad. Research scholar on labour problems at the University of Allahabad. Professor of Economics at National College in Bombay province.

Jawaharlal Nehru

Went to Harrow, the famous public school in England. at 15. Then went to Cambridge for his tripos (a degree course at Cambridge is called a tripos after the three-legged stool on which the student traditionally sits to give his oral exam) in natural sciences. Called to the Bar from Inner Temple.

May 20, 2004, 11:50 PM
Manmohan Singh would be the first minority PM in India. Let's hope India turns a new leaf in its relationships with its own minorities and its neighbors. It's naive to think there will be a domino effect that will bring about the downfall of all the clueless bigots now in power elsewhere in the subcontinent, but one can hope.

May 21, 2004, 05:50 AM
Dr Manmohan Singh, who will be sworn in as prime minister this weekend, is the most highly qualified occupant of the prime minister's office.

At the moment, no other country in the world has a President and PM as highly qualified as Abdul Kalam and Manmohan Singh :)

It is nice to see someone like Singh at the top, rather than a politician for whom votes come first and duty second.

May 21, 2004, 06:06 AM
Originally posted by abhs
India is going to have an extra-ordinary talent as their PM.

Rajiv Gandhi

Went to Trinity College, Cambridge, but soon shifted to the Imperial College in London. He did a course in mechanical engineering. Short stint at the London School of Economics.

Undoubtedly Dr. Mohan has excellent academic track. And his economics charisma has also proven while he was in charge of Finance. Now he will have to face all the political fiasco, already arisen among the alliance and in congress for distribution of port folio, which is common and expected but it would be the first test for him. Good luck for him.

Regarding Rajeev, he was a commercial Pilot of Italian air lines and earlier was in Indian Airlines and he possessed high reputation as pilot.

May 25, 2004, 03:23 AM
Manmohan Singh was born in modern-day Pakistan

General Musharraf was born in Delhi

I like it! :D