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Congress woos JD (S) in Karnataka

May 14, 2004 15:42 IST
Last Updated: May 14, 2004 20:47 IST

The Congress today sent out feelers to the Janata Dal (S) to forge a coalition for forming a secular government in Karnataka, which has thrown up a hung assembly.

"I have sent feelers, but I am yet to meet senior leaders here," Congress leader and former Maharashtra chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh, who is in charge of the party's affairs in Karnataka, told reporters in Bangalore today.

He said he was hopeful both parties together would be in a position to form a secular government in the state.

Asked whether the Congress was ready to sit in the Opposition and support a JD (S) government, he said, "All options are open at this point of time. The JD (S) and the Congress should come together to keep the communal forces out of power."

Deshmukh said the party would have to introspect to understand what went wrong in Karnataka. "I am meeting some senior leaders to see what went wrong. We will have to find out the reason. But one thing is clear -- we did not get the kind of result we were expecting in Karnataka."

The Congress has 65 seats in the 224-member house, while the JD (S) has 58. The BJP has 79 seats.

The party favoured formation of a front with the JD-S on the lines of the 'Maharashtra model' to provide a secular government in the state.

Former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, whose party JD-S has emerged as the key player following a fractured verdict in assembly polls in Karnataka, said the party would take a decision on the issue of government formation on Sunday.

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