India: Bangalore Torpedo

Since the death of Jawaharlal Nehru more than a year ago, India's ruling Congress Party has been plagued by what Delhi euphemists call "fissiparous tendencies." Put more bluntly, many's the politician who lusts for Prime Minister Lai Bahadur Shastri's job. Among the splittists: left-leaning ex-Defense Minister Krishna Menon; sloe-eyed Indira Gandhi (Nehru's daughter), Mrs. Vijaya Lakshmi Pandit (Nehru's sister), and former Finance Minister Morarji Desai, 69, who was Shastri's chief rival for the prime ministry. Last week at Bangalore, Desai made his play.

The occasion was the quarterly meeting of the All-India Congress Committee, a body roughly equivalent to the...