BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Urdu Hindi Pashto Bengali Tamil Nepali Sinhala
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: South Asia  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
LANGUAGES
EDITIONS
Friday, 8 November, 2002, 11:51 GMT
India's Congress looks ahead
Violence in Ahmedabad on Thursday
Fresh violence broke out in Ahmedabad on Thursday
India's main opposition Congress Party is meeting ahead of next month's crucial Gujarat state elections.

Party president and India's opposition leader, Sonia Gandhi, described the vote as a major challenge for Congress.

Sonia Gandhi
Mrs Gandhi said bigotry must be defeated
The controversial elections take place months after some of the worst religious clashes in India in decades, in which at least 1,000 people died.

The polls are being seen as a major test for India's governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) which is also in power in Gujarat.

On Thursday, at least 14 people were wounded in clashes between Hindus and Muslims in the city of Ahmedabad, the commercial capital of Gujarat.

Police used tear gas to disperse the rioters, who clashed on the first day of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. A number of arrests were made.

Upbeat

Mrs Gandhi opened the two-day meeting of Congress Party chief minsiters in the western state of Rajasthan with an upbeat assessment of her party's prospects in Gujarat.


We are going to the people of Gujarat with an overriding message of religious tolerance and understanding, of social reconciliation and amity

Congress leader Sonia Gandhi
Following her party's success in a string of state elections, most recently in Indian-administered Kashmir, Mrs Gandhi said the people of India were looking to the Congress to revive economic growth and foster social peace.

Kashmir, she said, was at a turning point following the recent elections, and there was a real chance for peace in the troubled state.

"The National Democratic Alliance has comprehensively failed to address the problems of the people and they are looking towards the Congress Party to take them out from stagnation to progress and darkness to light," she said.

Gujarat

A Muslim woman
Gujarat's Muslims feel vulnerable
Mrs Gandhi said Gujarat was an economic success story which could only be sustained if bigotry was defeated.

"We are going to the people of Gujarat with an overriding message of religious tolerance and understanding, of social reconciliation and amity."

The party plans to launch its Gujarat election campaign on Monday.

Elections to the state are due to be held on 12 December, following a row between India's independent Election Commission and the BJP-led state government.

The state government of Chief Minister Narendra Modi pushed for early elections in July, in what was seen as an attempt to exploit the religious divide following the violence earlier this year.

But the election body refused on the grounds that the state was not ready for the vote with many riot-victims still living in temporary camps.

Gujarat conflict in-depth

Key vote

Tense state

Background

BBC WORLD SERVICE

TALKING POINT
See also:

25 Sep 02 | South Asia
28 Feb 02 | South Asia
31 Oct 02 | South Asia
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more South Asia stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more South Asia stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes