Indian Prime Minister nears victory in confidence motion

The Indian Prime Minister, Deve Gowda, neared victory in a confidence motion yesterday even as corruption charges mounted against one of his government's pillars of political support. The first of two days of parliamentary debate on the motion was overshadowed by allegations against former prime minister Narasimha Rao's ruling Congress party. Congress has promised to give Mr Gowda's centre-left minority government the backing it needed to survive the vote of confidence expected today. The opposition sought to capitalise on a widening fertiliser import scandal and embarrass Mr Gowda's United Front alliance, which in recent elections campaigned against Congress over alleged corruption. Reuter - New Delhi

Bangladesh mounted a huge security operation for the country's second parliamentary elections in four months and pledged that everything possible had been done to ensure voting was clean. Bangladeshis believe much of their future depends on today's elections, whose success is seen as crucial if the country is to put a history of military rule and political chaos behind it. Troops were on standby to help some 400,000 police and paramilitary soldiers guarding polling stations. Reuter - Dhaka

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