India's non-Communist opposition leaders have agreed to hold talks with Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to try and normalise the political situation in the country.
SV Leaders of opposition party talking in garden
CU ZOOM OUT TO SV Mr. Asoka Mehta (at rear with beard) with others
SV Mr. Karunanidhi (in centre with glasses) ZOOM IN TO A.B. Vajpayee PAN BACK TO Mr. Karunandihi
SV Mr. Mehta with others
CU PAN Ministers talking ZOOM IN TO Mr. Vajpayee PULL BACK TO leaders leaving garden
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: India's non-Communist opposition leaders have agreed to hold talks with Prime Minister Indira Gandhi to try and normalise the political situation in the country.
SYNOPSIS: Seventeen party representatives met in New Delhi on Wednesday (15 December) and agreed unanimously to the discussions. Their decision came in response to a speech by Mrs. Ghandi last month indicating talks were possible. The leaders hope discussions without conditions on either side may break the ice formed by the state of internal emergency imposed in June 1975.
Wednesday's meeting was called by Doctor M. Karunandihi, the former chief minister of Tamilnadu, whose government was dismissed by Mrs. Gandhi early this year. He currently faces corruption charges. The parties represented at the meeting included the Congress faction which has broken away from the ruling party, the Indian People's Party, the Socialist Party and the Jana Sangh. Two members of Parliament who were expelled by the Congress party also attended.
India's first recognised opposition party, the National Indian Congress party, was represented by Mr. Ashoka Mehta, it's president.
Another of the leaders present was Mr. A.B. Vajpayee, leader of the Hindu nationalist Jana Sangh. He was released from detention two days before the meeting and is seen here wearing a dark suit. The opposition parties may now be prepared to reach some sort of working arrangement with the government instead of pursuing a policy of confrontation. Most major opposition parties have been boycotting recent sessions of parliament to back demands for the release of detained members of parliament and the lifting of press restrictions.