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Gowda aiming at two birds with one shot?
Vicky Nanjappa in Bangalore
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October 03, 2007 23:08 IST

Former prime minister and Janata Dal (Secular) supremo Deve Gowda is the key man in Karnataka politics. It is common knowledge that the JDS is the only party in Karnataka, which can form an alliance with either the Bharatiya Janata Party or the Congress.

However, though one may say that Gowda cannot go beyond politics in Karnataka, the fact remains that he has one eye set in New Delhi.

Sources close to Gowda say the former prime minister is confident that a Third Front could form a government at the Centre. There have been ample feelers sent by the CPM and the National Congress Party for the strengthening of the Third Front.

Gowda will seek to gain maximum mileage out of the crisis in Karnataka and that is presumably one of the reasons for holding the meeting in New Delhi on October 5.

The JDS supremo believes he could get more mileage in Delhi. Moreover, he would try and convince both the CPM and the NCP that his party is keen on maintaining a secular image and hence he did not want to align with the BJP.

It is said that Gowda feels his innings in national politics is not over as yet and there could well be one last chance.

He had even tried coaxing the BJP on this issue and was even ready to align with the NDA. However, his demand that he be pitched as the vice presidential candidate did not come through following which things fell out with the saffron party.

Experts watching the political developments closely in Karnataka say the reasons being given by the JDS not to transfer power are larger than they seem. Gowda is trying to give the impression that he is unhappy with the state BJP, but in reality, he wants to bargain for more in the national level.

The JDS feels that if it goes along with the UPA it could gain at the national level. A lot would depend on what the CPM would have to say on the entire issue. According to JDS sources, Gowda does have a soft corner for the CPM, as they were responsible for making him the prime minister.

What remains to be seen is how things will shape up over the next couple of days.

IB sources say that there is every possibility of the JDS aligning with the Congress in Karnataka. Gowda will surely have many demands and the biggest among them would be more stakes at the national scenario. This way he could build a strong base at the national level and form a strong Third Front in the Centre, the IB feels.

The meeting of the JDS national executive has been fixed on October 5, the day when Congress president Sonia Gandhi [Images] returns from New York. Things would start moving once she is back, says the IB, which is also watching the political developments closely.

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