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Indian leaders told to hold their tongue

April 1, 2004 at 10:36 PM   |   Comments

NEW DELHI, April 2 (UPI) -- India's Chief Election Commissioner has asked political leaders to refrain from making personal attacks on each other during the upcoming election campaigns.

During his visit to Kashmir to oversee polling arrangements, T.S. Krishnamurthy said he has summoned a meeting of all the political parties on April 6 to discuss the mud slinging by political leaders.

Leaders of India's ruling Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party have been making personal remarks against Italian-born Congress Party chief Sonia Gandhi and her son Rahul Gandhi.

Sonia Gandhi, widow of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi is the main challenger to Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's government in the upcoming federal elections due to begin on April 20.

The BJP's chief minister of Gujarat state, Narender Modi, said at a public meeting: "We did a survey of 20 shopkeepers in Nadiad town, and we found that nobody is ready to employ Sonia (Gandhi) as even a clerk there. As for Rahul, they said they would not hire him even as a car driver."

Other leaders of the BJP have also been campaigning that they will not tolerate an Italian born as a prime minister of the nation.

Congress party has ridiculed personal attacks on the Gandhi family.

© 2004 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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