Karnataka power transfer row shifts to Delhi


Bangalore : Senior leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Karnataka headed for Delhi Wednesday while Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) president H.D. Deve Gowda is likely to be in the national capital Thursday night to make one more attempt to save their coalition government from collapse.

Support TwoCircles

The JD-S was expected to hand over the reigns of power to BJP on Wednesday according to their agreement 20 months ago but Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy refused to step down Tuesday, leading to a crisis in the state.

“State BJP chief D.V. Sadananda Gowda, national general secretary H.N. Ananthkumar and senior leader Yashwant Sinha already left for Delhi to attend tomorrow’s party meeting there,” BJP spokesperson Sureshkumar said.

Deputy Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa, still hoping to take over as chief minister, would also reach Delhi in time for the meeting, he said.

Sureshkumar disagreed that BJP had played into the JD-S’ hands by making its ministers quit the coalition government after Kumaraswamy did not vacate his post Tuesday.

“Reaction of the people in general and response of our party workers make us feel more confident that our action is right. In fact, people and our workers are telling us now that our action (of ministers submitting resignation) should have come early,” Sureshkumar told IANS.

Deve Gowda’s office said the former prime minister was likely to leave for Delhi Thursday night or Friday morning to attend his party’s national executive meeting.

Deve Gowda and Kumaraswamy say that Friday’s meeting in Delhi will take a final decision on power transfer and BJP should have waited till then.

“The ministers should not have resigned. It’s a childish act,” Kumaraswamy told reporters after receiving the resignation letters of 17 BJP ministers including Yediyurappa.

Kumaraswamy took over as chief minister in February 2006 forging alliance with BJP on the understanding that he will vacate the post for BJP after 20 months.

Meanwhile, the main opposition Congress stuck to wait-and-watch policy while dismissing reports that it was going to extend outside support to the JD-S government.

“These reports are planted by Deve Gowda to put pressure on BJP,” Congress spokesperson V.S. Ugrappa said.

“Once we support the JD-S government, we will be at the mercy of Deve Gowda. We will have to run to him for everything.

“Also, there is no logic for us to support this government. If BJP withdraws support, there will be the president’s rule. Why then should we keep this government in power?” he said.

Ugrappa said his party’s central leadership had not asked any state leader to come to Delhi for talks on the political developments.