Deve Gowda in Delhi, talks with Congress on cards


New Delhi/Bangalore : Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) president H.D. Deve Gowda, soon after pulling down the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government in Karnataka, arrived in New Delhi Monday evening and was expected to engage Congress leaders in talks to form an alternate government in the state.

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With the fall of the B.S. Yeddyurappa-led ministry, Deve Gowda has earned the dubious distinction of bringing down three governments in 41 months and possibly attempting to form the fourth in the state.

Deve Gowda’s personal staff at his residence in the national capital said he had no appointment to meet anybody Monday night though they added that he might meet a cross-section of MPs in parliament Tuesday.

At this stage, both Congress and JD-S leaders were reluctant to comment on the possibility of their second tie-up in Karanataka.

Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who dismissed the Karnataka developments as a farce of the “BJP school of drama”, added: “We cannot predict anything about future.”

Congress leaders in Karnataka maintained there was no question of the party joining hands again with Deve Gowda.

But a JD-S source in New Delhi told IANS: “If they (the Congress) are keen to avert the dissolution of the assembly and mid-term polls, let them come up with some formula.”

There was speculation last week that Deve Gowda, a former prime minister, had sent feelers to the Congress to join hands with his party again, forgetting the bitter experience of February 2006 when he allowed his son H.D. Kumaraswamy to walk out with a majority of the JD-S legislators to bring down the Congress-led ministry.

Deve Gowda had a long discussion with Parliamentary Affairs Minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi in the parliament lobby Nov 15, the first day of the winter session of parliament.

Informed sources said the former prime minister had then decided to dump the BJP and realign with the Congress.

Before assuring the BJP of his party’s support, Deve Gowda had offered the Congress party to lead a Congress-JD-S coalition government yet again, with the rider that it should be led by a Lingayat leader to counter the BJP.

He also named Rajya Sabha member M.V. Rajasekharan, son-in-law of former Congress leader S. Nijalingappa, as a possible candidate.

Following a fractured verdict in the May 2004 assembly polls, Deve Gowda’s JD-S had entered into an alliance with the Congress, supporting a ministry led by N. Dharam Singh of that party.

But after 20 months, his son Kumaraswamy led 51 of the 58 JD-S legislators to align with the BJP to become chief minister on the understanding that he would make way for BJP’s Yeddyurappa after 20 months.

When the time came for Kumaraswamy to hand over power, Deve Gowda intervened to prevent it. This led to BJP pulling out of the alliance and fall of the Kumaraswamy ministry in early October.

However, three weeks later, Deve Gowda and Kumaraswamy went back to the BJP extending unconditional support to Yeddyurappa and prevented a possible tie-up between the Congress and a section of the JD-S legislators.

After ditching Yeddyurappa again now, he now appears to have turned to the Congress for forming another government in the state.