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Trouble in Karnataka coalition?
February 01, 2006 17:02 IST
Karnataka Chief Minister designate H D Kumaraswamy cancelled his trip to New Delhi on Wednesday to meet top Bharatiya Janata Party leaders.
Party sources here said Kumarswamy did this since the Karnataka High Court took up for hearing, a petition filed by three legislators, seeking his disqualification as the Janata Dal (Secular) legislature party leader, under the Anti-Defection Law.
Kumaraswamy had planned to meet BJP leaders, including former prime minister A B Vajpayee, to discuss the formation of the new JD(S)-BJP government in the state on Febraury 3.
The BJP has, however, sought to put on a brave face, saying there was nothing to worry about the alliance and 'it had nothing to lose'.
There also appeared to be some 'communication gap' between the two parties with M Venkaiah Naidu, senior BJP leader and central observer for Karnataka, saying Kumaraswamy expressed his inability to reach the capital 'through a friend'.
With Kumaraswamy scheduled to take oath on February 3, deputy chief minister-designate B S Yediyurappa, state BJP chief Jagdish Shettar and general secretary Ananth Kumar have also rushed to the capital.
The chief minister-designate was scheduled to meet former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, leader of Opposition L K Advani and BJP president Rajnath Singh, besides attending a lunch hosted by Naidu.
While Naidu said a High Court case and a meeting with his father H D Deve Gowda, who has been vehemently opposing the alliance with BJP, were holding Kumaraswamy back, the chief minister-designate himself told reporters in Bangalore that he was 'a bit tired' after the hectic schedule of the past few days.
Kumaraswamy, however, said no significance should be attached to the cancellation of the visit. "There is nothing to worry. We are hopeful of forming a government. In any case, we have nothing to lose," Naidu also told reporters.
Naidu said the BJP wanted Kumaraswamy to have the 'blessings' of his father and the party did not want to get involved in the father-son relationship.
Asked whether BJP was responsible for creating a wedge between the two, he said, "The initiative (for the alliance) was not from the BJP side but their side."
The BJP leader said both he and Ananth Kumar had separately spoken to Gowda and the former prime minister told them that he favoured dissolution of the Assembly.
"But we told him that the alliance was in the larger interest of the people of the state and the mandate in the last Assembly polls was for an anti-Congress government", he said. 'There was no understanding between BJP and Gowda".
Asserting that 'there was nothing to worry' over the High Court notices, Naidu said, "The decision of the Speaker is final. There was a two-third split and he only recognised them as a separate group."
He said Kumaraswamy would come to Delhi and meet BJP leaders 'before or after taking oath'.
"It was his (Kumaraswamy's) desire (to meet BJP leaders). He has said that he wants a long-term friendship with BJP and was for a Common Minimum Programme," Naidu said. He, however, said there was 'no proposal' to invite Kumaraswamy to join the National Democratic Alliance at the Centre.
Complete coverage: Karnataka - A coalition's fall