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Karnataka: JD-S' last ditch effort to cling to power

September 19, 2007 20:18 IST

The Janata Dal (Secular) has offered to join the National Democratic Alliance, provided the BJP allows H D Kumaraswamy continue as Karnataka chief minister for the next 20 months.

Sources say that at the meeting of the Janata Dal legislator party, it was decided to make a last ditch attempt to cling on to power.

It is said that the JD-S is banking heavily on the NDA's need for partners in South India and this would be used as a bait to remain in power. The JD-S and BJP had entered into an alliance in Karnataka and formed the government 20 months back. The agreement was that at the end of 20 months, the JD-S would transfer power to the BJP, which would then have its candidate on the chief minister's seat.

Former prime minister and JD-S supremo H D Deve Gowda is likely to meet BJP leaders, L K Advani and A B Vajpayee and discuss this issue on September 28 or 29. Gowda is also expected to meet with BJP party president Rajnath Singh during his visit to Delhi. During the meeting he is expected to broach the subject of the JD-S joining the NDA. At present, the NDA does not have a strong partner in Karnataka and an alliance with the JD-S is likely to strengthen the BJP in Karnataka, JD-S sources said.

The BJP is however tight lipped about the issue. Sources in the BJP say that they were aware the developments and added that the party high command will have to take a decision. The BJP is however playing the cards carefully. Sources say that they have to consider this issue carefully as if they decline the offer, they stand the risk of losing power entirely. The other worrying factor for the BJP is that the Congress has sent out feelers to the JD-S to give it support from outside.

The leaders in Karnataka have now adopted a wait and watch policy and say that the meeting of Gowda with the BJP leaders in New Delhi will decide the fate of the government.

Vicky Nanjappa