The Pakistan government clamped a curfew in Karachi after eight hours of clashes and big fires which destroyed two state-owned motor vehicle assembly plants, causing damage of more than $25 million. At least 17 people were killed in savage riots in the city, eye-witnesses reported. In the district of Pathan Colony, 13 people died in a gun battle between political opponents. Police and troops backed by army tanks fought running battles with rioters rampaging through the smoke-filled streets of Karachi.
Split final: CFD
Jagjivan Ram, chairman of the Congress for Democracy (CFD), said he was not aware of any “forget and forgive move” in the Congress vis-a-vis those who had switched over to the CFD. Ram said there might be a move in the ruling party circles. “I am not aware of any such move,’’ he added. He was asked for his reaction to the “forget and forgive move” being floated among Congressmen to bring back to the fold of the parent body those who had gone over to the CFD.
No Janata merger
H.N. Bahuguna, general secretary of the CFD, said his party and the Janata Party would function jointly but at the same time, the CFD’s existence was needed. Bahuguna said his party was not merging in the Janata Party. However, the first convention of his party to be held in Delhi on April 13 would discuss the question. He hoped the Janata Party would have a majority of its own in the House and form the government at the centre. His party would extend “selective support”, “not conditional support”.
Brisk polling was reported from 143 constituencies in the states and two UTs that voted on March 19. Polling in Kerala for a new assembly election and Lok Sabha saw an 80 per cent turnout. Results are expected on March 20.