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|January 10, 1998||
Hegde ties up with BJP
The Bharatiya Janata Party yesterday received a shot in the arm when former Karnataka chief minister Ramakrishna Hegde's Lok Shakti tied up with the saffron party.
The Lok Shakti had to settle for the BJP after the Congress ignored its moves for an alliance on the ground of hobnobbing with communal forces.
Though Congress president Sitaram Kesri had invited Hegde for talks on seat adjustment, he chose not to meet the former chief minister. Congress spokesperson V N Gadgil said Kesri declined to meet him since he was negotiating with the BJP simultaneously.
Refuting the charge that the BJP was a communal party, Hegde sought to explain the delay in entering into a tie-up with that party on the ground that he had to consult his colleagues.
Following the announcement, the Lok Shakti virtually faced a revolt with its national secretary Ramakant Pande quitting the party. Pande rejoined the Janata Dal.
Talking to the media, Pande said Hegde's decision violated the party's commitment of being equidistant from the Congress and the BJP. Lok Shakti sources said over 50 per cent of its leaders, particularly from Karnataka, were opposed to having a tie-up with the BJP.
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