India: Confirming the Worst Fears

Confirming the Worst Fears

The omens were bad. Campaigning for his ruling Congress (I) Party in Haryana state elections, Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi arrived at the supposed party stronghold of Sonepat for a rally attended by only 5,000, a pitiful turnout by Indian standards. Last week Gandhi's fears were confirmed when Haryana's voters handed more than 80% of their legislature's seats to an opposition coalition, slapping Gandhi with his sixth loss in the past seven state elections. At least 15 Cabinet ministers in the incumbent Congress (I) Party state government were among those swept away in the electoral landslide.