NEW DELHI, India, March 27, (Reuter): A Senior Indian Minister resigned from the Cabinet today over the ruling party’s poor showing in State Assembly elections in West Bengal State.

Law Minister Ashoke Sen told a crowded news conference in Calcutta, the State capital, that he had sent in his resignation from the Cabinet, the Press Trust of India (PTI) said.

Indian commentators saw the defeat of the nationally ruling Congress (I) Party in West Bengal and Kerala States as a blow to Gandhi’s personal popularity.

Marxist led coalitions won in the two States but the Congress Party won in the northern State of Jammu and Kashmir State where it was allied with the ruling National Conference Party of Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah.

Marxist were voted into office in West Bengal for a third five-year term and captured the Kerala State after a gap of seven years during which a Congress led front had ruled the State. The Statewide elections were held in only three States.

Sen, who is from West Bengal, is the first minister to quit over the poll debacle but his resignation has not been accepted so far.

Most Indian newspaper commentators have seen the defeats as erosion in Gandhi’s popularity 27 months after he assumed office upon the assassination of his mother Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

His party controls three fourths of the Lower House of Parliament where Opposition groups, fresh from the poll victory, have threatened to bring a no confidence motion against him. But the motion has little chance of surviving.

Article extracted from this publication >>  April 3, 1987