Crucial vote for Indian coalition

A confidence vote in the Indian parliament today will determine whether the 13-party coalition can remain in power. Prime Minister HD Deve Gowda refused all week to buckle under pressure to step aside after a key ally, the Congress party, withdrew support on Easter Sunday.

Many doubt that Mr Gowda can shore up enough support for his left-leaning United Front to rule, now Sitaram Kesri, president of the Congress party, has turned on him. But the United Front has no intention of complying with Mr Kesri's demands that Congress form the next government. "No serious political party would change its leader under pressure from the outside," a United Front leader, Surjeet Singh, said last night. "It's final. We will go to the people."

For Mr Gowda to retain leadership today, either the right-wing Hindu Bharatitya Janata Party (BJP) must abstain from voting, which is unlikely, as they stand to gain most from the fall of the government, or renegade Congress party members must break ranks and side with him.

Congress, which backed the United Front coalition from the outside, was humiliated in elections last spring after corruption charges were filed against party leaders.

Mr Kesri objects to the United Front's pursuit of allegedly corrupt officials within Congress. The former farmer from Karnataka is raking up dirt on the former Congress prime minister, Narasimha Rao, and Mr Kesri himself.

Mr Kesri blamed Mr Gowda's government for failing to stem the rise of the BJP, which now controls the Punjab and will take turns heading the state government of Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state. He also protested against the Prime Minister's recent meeting with Bal Thackeray, head of the fundamentalist Shiv Sena (Shiva's Army) in Bombay.

Critics accuse Mr Kesri, 82, of putting his own survival ahead of his party, and there are fears that Congress may split over his brash gamble to unseat Mr Gowda.

Questions about sleaze are still unanswered. Mr Kesri may have timed his move to ward of investigations into his own finances; he had long been the Congress party treasurer and was thought to be above lining his own pockets when he was cited for "accumulating disproportionate assets" and then fined for income tax evasion.

Mr Kesri apparently fears the Prime Minister was plotting to frame him in a lurid murder trial, and reportedly confided this to Jyoti Basu, a communist leader from Calcutta, and two other statesmen who attempted to broker a deal between the former allies.

After police questioned Mr Kesri about the kidnapping and brutal killing of his personal physician, Dr Surendra Tanwar, he was livid with Mr Gowda for allowing the investigation to be reopened. The doctor's body was found in a Delhi suburb in October 1993.

According to Vinod Mehta, the editor of a newsweekly in the Indian capital, Congress "has jeopardised a widely popular budget, derailed a historic opportunity to mend relations with Pakistan and undermined investor confidence ... to satisfy the irrational whims of a reckless geriatric."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
John Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
books
News
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
News
business
News
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
people
Sport
Germany's Andre Greipel crosses the finish line to win the sixth stage of the Tour de France cycling race over 194 kilometers (120.5 miles) with start in Arras and finish in Reims, France
tour de franceGerman champion achieves sixth Tour stage win in Reims
Extras
indybest
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Chocolat author Joanne Harris has spoken about the financial struggles most authors face
books
Arts and Entertainment
filmSir Ian McKellen will play retired detective in new film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

E-Commerce Developer

£45000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Exciting opp...

Technical Support Analyst (C++, Windows, Linux, Perl, Graduate)

£30000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A global leader in trading platforms and e...

Junior IT Consultant (SQL, Java, C++, Oracle, Graduate)

£28000 per annum: Harrington Starr: A fast growing consultancy to the financia...

Technical Support Analyst (Windows, Linux, Unix, Graduate)

£30000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Technical Support Analyst - Liverpool Stre...

Day In a Page

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice
Hollywood targets Asian audiences as US films enjoy record-breaking run at Chinese box office

Hollywood targets Asian audiences

The world's second biggest movie market is fast becoming the Hollywood studios' most crucial
Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app - and my mum keeps trying to hook me up!'

Grindr founder Joel Simkhai: 'I've found love on my dating app'

Five years on from its launch and Grindr is the world's most popular dating app for gay men. Its founder Joel Simkhai answers his critics, describes his isolation as a child
Autocorrect has its uses but it can go rogue with embarrassing results - so is it time to ditch it?

Is it time to ditch autocorrect?

Matthew J X Malady persuaded friends to message manually instead, but failed to factor in fat fingers and drunk texting
10 best girls' summer dresses

Frock chick: 10 best girls' summer dresses

Get them ready for the holidays with these cool and pretty options 
Westminster’s dark secret: Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together

Westminster’s dark secret

Adultery, homosexuality, sadomasochism and abuse of children were all seemingly lumped together
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Dulce et decorum est - a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Dulce et decorum est: a life cut short for a poet whose work achieved immortality
Google tells popular music website to censor album cover art in 'sexually explicit content' ban

Naked censorship?

The strange case of Google, the music website and the nudity take-down requests
Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

Howzat! 8 best cricket bats

As England take on India at Trent Bridge, here is our pick of the high-performing bats to help you up your run-count this summer 
Brazil vs Germany World Cup 2014 comment: David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

David Luiz falls from leader figure to symbol of national humiliation

Captain appears to give up as shocking 7-1 World Cup semi-final defeat threatens ramifications in Brazil