Congress Unity Talks
Congress president Swaran Singh threw Mrs Gandhi’s unity statement in the lap of his party’s working committee meeting for a discussion. If the incomplete deliberations are any indication, not all Congressmen will be prepared to accept her unity offer despite efforts of the pro-unity elements in the party. This means that when time comes for a decision, the Congress party may settle down for a split with one section opting for unity with Mrs Gandhi’s Congress and the other choosing to stay apart.
Indira’s Poll Funds
The Intelligence Bureau at the Centre has reported to the government that Mrs Gandhi was given Rs 113 crore by industrialists in the country for the last general election. The report has listed the names of industrialists. A Union minister raised the matter at the meeting of the Janata Parliamentary Party’s executive. He wanted “some action” against the former PM, but Prime Minister Morarji Desai is believed to have rejected the demand on the ground that all political parties took money from industrialists to fight elections. In May last year, Desai had said the government proposed to meet the expenses incurred by the candidates contesting elections. The proposal might cost roughly Rs 20 crore and the government was examining its implications. During the last Lok Sabha election, the Congress is said to have given Rs 1 lakh to every candidate and two jeeps. Some candidates were given more than Rs 2 lakh.
West Asia Talks
Cairo decided to recall its chief negotiator to the Washington peace talks for consultations following Israel’s rejection of Egypt’s latest demands. The Israeli cabinet, by a vote of 15-2, rejected Egypt’s demand for a timetable linking Israeli withdrawal from Sinai to the gradual establishment of Palestinian self-rule in West Bank and the Gaza strip.