Karnataka row shifts to Delhi; BJP hopeful, JD-S defiant


Bangalore/New Delhi : Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Rajnath Singh Wednesday hoped the power transfer crisis in Karnataka would be resolved through talks, though the Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) accused it of “not respecting the coalition dharma”.

Support TwoCircles

According to the agreement between the two parties 20 months ago, Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy of the JD-S was to hand over reins of the office to the BJP on Wednesday. He, however, has refused to do so, leading to all the BJP ministers in his cabinet submitting their resignation on Tuesday night.

Singh told reporters in New Delhi that he was hopeful of a solution emerging to resolve the stand off between the BJP and JD-S.

“Although the BJP ministers have submitted their resignations, the party is yet to withdraw its support from the government,” he clarified and added the BJP parliamentary board would meet in the capital Thursday evening to chalk out the future course of action.

However, JD-S general secretary Kunwar Danish Ali took a tough stand and accused the BJP of not adhering to the “coalition dharma” over the last 20 months.

He said the BJP’s central leadership had stood as a mute spectator when the BJP leaders in Karnataka were involved in tarnishing the image of the chief minister and his father, former prime minister and party president H.D. Deve Gowda.

“Where was their coalition dharma then?” he asked. Ali charged state BJP president D.V. Sadananda Gowda of participating and even organising programmes of the Vishwa Hindu Organisation (VHP), an affiliate of the BJP.

Stating that over the last 20 months the BJP leadership in Karnataka had used “un-parliamentary language” against JD-S leaders on several occasions and had gone to the extent of referring to Deve Gowda as Ravana and his son as Kumbhkarna – the villains of Hindu epic Ramayana, Ali said: “We never called the BJP’s central leadership a Dhritrashtra of Mahabharata for turning a blind eye to what its state leadership was up to in Karnataka.”

The JD-S leader said the agreement about the transfer of power to the BJP after 20 months was between the legislators led by Kumaraswamy and the BJP.

“The BJP leaders never bothered about Deve Gowda and other central leaders. They were in isolation about the agreement. Now the legislators have realised that they should abide by the decisions of the central leadership of the party.”

He said the party’s political affairs committee would meet in Delhi Friday. “Whatever decision we take will be conveyed to the BJP leadership,” he said.

Asked repeatedly about the survival of the coalition in the state, he said: “I hope the Kumaraswamy government continues in Karnataka.”

Meanwhile, senior BJP leaders from Karnataka headed for Delhi Wednesday while Deve Gowda is likely to be in the national capital Thursday as the scene was shifting to the national capital.

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

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,” Sureshkumar told IANS.

However, Kumaraswamy told reporters: “The ministers should not have resigned. It’s a childish act.”

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.

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 the 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.

Congress sources in New Delhi said the party’s stance would be decided after its president Sonia Gandhi’s return from New York Thursday.