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Sonia likely to meet Deve Gowda after plenary
Sheela Bhatt and Syed Amin Jafri in Hyderabad | January 21, 2006 21:12 IST
Congress president Sonia Gandhi is likely to meet Janata Dal-Secular leader and former prime minister H D Deve Gowda to discuss the Karnataka issue in the next few days soon after the Congress plenary.
Stating this at a media briefing on the first day of the three-day 82nd plenary session of the party in Hyderabad, All India Congress Committee general secretary Ambika Soni, however, maintained that the Karnataka issue did not come up at the extended Congress Working Committee meeting held Saturday evening.
After the crisis in Karnataka blew out of hand, the Congress party strategists have adopted a two-pronged strategy.
The Congress party has taken a moral high-ground over the issue of secular politics.If they lose government, they would like maximum polarisation over the communal versus secular debate.
Soni said that the Congress in Karnataka has stuck to its principled stand that there should not be any truck with communal forces. "Not a single Congress legislator has differed from the party stand. They are standing like a block. Deve Gowda has also said that there is no question of his having struck with communal forces," she added.
Congress wants the ideological difference with Bharatiya Janata Party to be heard loud and clear in case they lose power, which is a possibility.
Congress is wary of getting bad name in managing coalition governments.
Soni conceded that Karnataka episode had shown the fragility of coalitions. "Coalition governments are formed on the basis of common minimum programme. Sometimes, there are hiccups in the coalitions. Such incidents (like the one in Karnataka) occur. But then the Congress has been successfully running coalition governments in states such as Maharashtra, Meghalaya, Jammu and Kashmir etc. There has been peaceful change of guard in Jammu and Kashmir after three years. The coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir is a good example of coalitions working very well," she observed.
Soni said that the Congress would make every endeavour to see that the coalition governments led by it in the states complete their tenures. "Coalitions, after all, are managed by all the coalition partners. The United Progressive Alliance is successfully running a coalition government at the Centre on the basis of a common minimum programme. There is a mechanism in place to oversee its (smooth) functioning in the shape of the UPA coordination committee, Left-UPA coordination committee and a core committee etc," she observed.
The Congress leaders in New Delhi have pushed Deve Gowda himself to handle the crisis caused due to divide in his party and family. If Congress loses government, it will sink Deve Gowda too.
His legislators of JD-S have always fought Congress before the coaltion took shape.
Soni rejected the suggestions that the Congress was a silent spectator to the imminent fall of the Congress-JD-S coalition government in Karnataka.
"This is not a matter of watching it silently. AICC incharge of party affairs in Karnataka A K Anthony and CWC member Ahmed Patel and senior leaders party in Karnataka are reviewing the developments in Karnataka. No political party can silently concede its defeat in such issues. There is every possibility of JD-S president and Congress president having a meeting to discuss the matter in a few days. There is every possibility that Deve Gowda will prevail upon his (rebellious) partymen. Chief Minister Dharam Singh is confident of surviving the trust vote on January 27," she said.
The beleaguered Dharam Singh was conspicuous by his absence at the extended CWC meeting. "I have not seen Dharam Singh here. I don't know whether he will come here tomorrow or not. His presence is needed there," she quipped.