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India Likely To Elect Low-Cast President

The country’s vice president was expected Monday to become the first-ever low-caste president of India, after an all-day vote by state and federal legislators.

One of the few Indian politicians untainted by scandal, K.R. Narayanan has the support of Prime Minister Inder Kumar Gujral and most other leaders of India’s governing United Front coalition.

His competition for the post, former chief election commissioner T.N. Seshan, who has been hailed for reducing vote fraud and other persistent irregularities, was backed by only a small right-wing group.

The vote comes as the country has been torn by class-based rioting. Police shot and killed at least 12 people Friday and Saturday in an attempt to quell the unrest, which began when a statue of a low-caste hero was defaced.

Election results are expected late Thursday. The successor to President Shanker Dayal Sharma must be installed before July 24.

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