Bangalore : The Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) Saturday dramatically announced it would back a BJP-led government in Karnataka and said the move had the blessings of party chief H.D. Deve Gowda, just three weeks after it refused to hand over power to coalition partner Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the government led by it collapsed.
The move paves the way for the installation of the first BJP chief minister in south India, with the BJP-JD-S combine claiming the support of 126 legislators in the effectively 224-member Karnataka assembly.
Former chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy of the JD-S met state BJP chief D.V. Sadananda Gowda and other leaders Saturday morning and gave them a letter expressing his party’s support to a BJP-led government with B.S. Yediyurappa as chief minister.
Later, Kumaraswamy, the JD-S legislature party leader, accompanied by BJP leaders Yediyurappa and Sadananda Gowda met Governor Rameshwar Thakur and submitted separate letters informing him that the two parties had enough legislators with them to ensure a majority and should be called at the earliest to form the government in the state now under president’s rule.
Soon after meeting the governor, Kumaraswamy told reporters outside Raj Bhavan (governor’s official residence) that the letters mention that Yediyurappa is the leader of the coalition and should be invited to form the government.
Yediyurappa, who was deputy chief minister in the ministry headed by Kumaraswamy, was present but did not speak.
Kumaraswamy, whose refusal to make way for Yediyurappa brought about the downfall of his ministry Oct 8, said all 58 JD-S legislators supported the party decision to support a Yediyurappa-led government.
On the efforts of senior JD-S leader M.P. Prakash to form a tie up with Congress, Kumaraswamy said “I will talk to him on his return from New Delhi Saturday evening”.
Prakash was in New Delhi to meet Congress president Sonida Gandhi’s political secretary Ahamed Patel but cancelled the meeting following the dramatic turn in his party’s stand.
He has requested the governor to reject any JD-S letter supporting a BJP-led government.
Reacting to this, Kumaraswamy said: “My letter is legal and valid as I am the leader of the JD-S legislature party”.
“We will take Prakash along,” he said when asked what the party intended to do with the senior leader.
Kumaraswamy said the move to support a BJP-led government just three weeks after not honouring its word on power transfer to it had the support of his father, party president and former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda.
Deve Gowda reportedly met BJP president Rajnath Singh in New Delhi Saturday to inform him of his party’s support to Yediyurappa as chief minister.
Kumaraswamy told reporters that the governor told them that he would consider their request and respond at the earliest.
The governor now has to inform the president and get her permission to revoke president’s rule to facilitate installation of the government, Kumaraswamy said and hoped that this would be done at the earliest.
In New Delhi, BJP spokesman Rajiv Pratap Rudy confirmed the developments in Bangalore and added that the party had agreed to receive the JD-S support after a meeting of its parliamentary board at the national capital Saturday.