A fundamentalist Hindu party withdrew its support from the 11-month-old government of Prime Minister V.P. Singh Tuesday, a move that threatened to bring down the government.
The decision by the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party came just hours after its president, L.K. Advani, was arrested in the northern state of Bihar.The Press Trust of India news agency said that Atal Behari Vajpayee, a senior BJP leader, sent a letter to Indian President R. Venkataraman, informing him that the BJP had decided to withdraw its support from the government.
The orthodox Hindu BJP has 82 members in the lower house of Parliament and its support is necessary for the survival of the five-party National Front coalition government of Singh. The BJP is not a member of the coalition but extends crucial support to the government.