MADRAS, India, Jan 21, Reuter: Scattered violence marred polling on Saturday in two of three Indian states voting for assemblies in the last major test of public opinion before general elections due by the end of the year.
In the southern state of Tamil Nadu, the most critical for Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and his Congress (1) party, a short section of railway track was blown up, police said.
They said a congress worker was stabbed by members of a low caste group agitating for better jobs and voting booth was blasted apart by gelignite.
In northeastern Nagaland, where congress is favored to pull off a narrow win, polling was suspended in one of the 6 0 constituencies following clashes between congress and Nagaland People’s Council supporters that injured at least eight people.
Polling was peaceful in Mizoram, the other northeastern state electing a new assembly, although some groups of Christians refused to vote.
“We are communicating with God. We are not interested in worldly affairs like elections,” said Lalrempuia (repeat Lalrepuia), aged 14, who leads a sect of about 800 people.
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK),a regional party trying to forge unity among Gandhi’s opponents nationally, was favored to win most of the 232 Tamil Nadu seats at stake.
The election, in a state where the ruling congress party has not held sole power for more than 20 years, was widely seen as a major test of Gandhi’s ability to draw votes.
Article extracted from this publication >> January 27, 1989