India: The Battle Royal

It was almost a palace coup in reverse. With the cool, crisp disdain of a modern-day Victoria, India's Rajmata (Queen Mother) of Gwalior informed the governor of the state of Madhya Pradesh last week that 36 members of the state's ruling Congress Party had defected to her opposition United Front Party. That gave the Rajmata, who is 47 and as tough a politician as they come, a clear majority in the 296-mem-ber state legislature. Flabbergasted, the governor suspended the legislature indefinitely, a move that could either open the way to new elections...

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