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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Congress Says 'Talks Closed' In India Crisis

NEW DELHI, India -- Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda's government was on the brink of collapse after the Congress Party ordered its legislators Thursday to vote against the ruling coalition.


Unless the order is withdrawn within 24 hours, Gowda's government is likely to collapse.


Laloo Prasad Yadav, a key leader of the coalition, said the talks with Congress had broken down.


"Talks are closed. It's all over," he told reporters. "We are ready for polls if the situation arises," he said. Elections were last held just one year ago.


A Congress spokesman, V.N. Gadgil, said his party remained adamant that the prime minister resign, and was setting a deadline for 5:30 a.m. Friday. Parliament is due to convene 5 1/2 hours later in an emergency session.


Earlier, Congress had ordered its legislators to be present Friday, "canceling all their other engagements of whatever importance or urgency," and to vote against the government.


Negotiations between the United Front coalition and Congress to avert the crisis adjourned after barely one hour Thursday morning, with no time set to resume. It was their second day of talks.


If Gowda loses the vote, he must resign. If no other political group can form a government, the president will call for elections.


The crisis that erupted 12 days ago when Congress suddenly withdrew its support from the United Front has virtually suspended all government work.