NEW DELHI, India, June 19, Reuter: Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s Congress (1) Party has suffered one of its worst ever defeats in an Indian State election, swept from power in the northern state of Haryana by an opposition landslide.

The crushing loss was a major personal setback for Gandhi whose vote winning ability was on trial after political scandals in Delhi and a string of electoral losses since he took command of the party in 1984.

“Congress has got the thrashing of a lifetime,” BJP President Lal Advani told Reuters. “I think the election has destroyed Rajiv Gandhi’s image as a vote winner”. “The defeat of the Congress (1) in Haryana is the start of its downfall in north India,” Lok Dal General Secretary Sharad Yadav said. Other opposition statements said the result showed it was time for a viable national alternative to Congress to emerge on the national scene. Rajiv Gandhi could face a revolt in his Congress (1) party after leading it to one of the most crushing state election de feats in its 101year history.

Such was the Party’s humiliation yesterday in the northern state of Haryana, one of its traditional strongholds, that some party members and political commentators believe Gandhi can no longer ignore Congress dissidents without sparking a wider revolt.

The latest party position is as follows: Lok Dal: 58 BJP; 15 Congress: 5 Communists & Others: 9

Article extracted from this publication >>  June 26, 1987