INTRODUCTION: The dispute continues in India over the issue of elections in states controlled by the Congress Party which was heavily defeated in last month's general election.
GV EXT. Acting President Basappa Jatti's residence
CU Congress Party members enter
SV & CU INT. Congress MPs arguing in ante-room (3 shots)
SV PAN EXT. Members leave residence
GV EXT. Congress office building
CU & SV INT. Congress spokesman briefing press and other members in English (2 shots)
TRANSCRIPT: (SEQ. 6) CONGRESS PARTY SPOKESMAN: "You know that Mr Charan Singh as Home Minister advised the chief ministers of these nine states to advise the government to dissolve their assemblies. The chief ministers, by and large as you know from newspapers also, have refused to obey the directive on request or appeal or whatever you may call it. But coming from the Home Minister of India in these matters, it is a directive and meant to obey. Now therefore, now there is a dispute between the Council of Ministers at the centre and the Council of Ministers in the nine states. The central government asking, the Union governments asking the State governments to do, and the State governments refusing to do, means a dispute and automatically (indistinct). The central government is a party to the dispute. According to us there is no manner of doubt in our mind that it is totally and unconstitutional, in fact it is an illegal advice that will be tendered by the Council of Ministers, and therefore the President, in order to uphold the constitution, to which he is sworn, he has to ignore it, and ignoring of that advice will be a function that the President will be discharging."
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: The dispute continues in India over the issue of elections in states controlled by the Congress Party which was heavily defeated in last month's general election. The youth wing of the party has announced the launching of a non-violent campaign from Monday (25 April) to protest against the government's attempt to force elections in nine northern states. Control of the state assemblies is important because their members form a majority in the electoral college that must meet before August 11th to choose a new Indian President. On Sunday (24 April) a group of Congress Party MPs tried to see acting President Basappa Jatti in a bid to stall the government's move.
SYNOPSIS: They went to Mr Jatti's official residence in New Delhi with a memorandum urging him to refer the matter to the Supreme Court. But they only managed to see the President's secretary, and they weren't happy about it.
India's new Home Minister Charan Singh a week ago (18 April) said he was writing to the chief ministers of the nine states still held by Congress, asking them to advise dissolution of the state assemblies, and to seek a fresh mandate immediately. The central government maintains that the state governments in effect lost the people's confidence in the recent general election when the Janata Party, now in power, crushed the Congress Party in the north. But Congress spokesmen say the government's moves are unconstitutional.
A party spokesman put their case.