Indira Gandhi has wrapped up her victory in the Chikmagalur Lok Sabha by-election by a margin of 77,333 votes, beating her Janata contender, Veerendra Patil, by 2,49,376 to 1,72,043. Mrs Gandhi’s lead is just 13,000 more than what her predecessor, D B Chandre Gowda, who made way for the by-election by resigning from the Lok Sabha, had got. However, the Congress (I) vote has come down from 59.7 per cent in the last Lok Sabha elections to 55 per cent. The polling this time was 7 per cent more than in 1977.
Prime Minister Morarji Desai does not think that Indira Gandhi’s return to Parliament will have any effect on the fortunes of his government. Desai said that he did not foresee any defections from the Janata Party to Mrs Gandhi’s Congress.
Fresh talks, that are likely to have a vital bearing on the Indo-US nuclear debate, begin tomorrow in Delhi with the arrival of Joseph Nye, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and President Carter’s principal negotiator in nuclear matters. The starting point for the talks appears to be a proposal which entails a blue ribbon international panel to go into the issue of safeguards, across the board.
The initiative by PM Morarji Desai, to bring the warring factions in the ruling Peoples Conference (PC) in Mizoram together has failed. Within minutes of Desai’s departure from Aizawl, the Speaker of the territorial assembly, Thangridema, who has staked claim to the office of the chief minister issued a statement decrying the “inordinate delay” in inviting him to form a government. In an obvious reference to the advice of the PMto him to step down from office in view of his election as leader of the ULP, the Speaker declared that he would not bow down to any pressure from any quarter outside the provisions of the Constitution.