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Why did Modi say he spoke to Deve Gowda?

By Archis Mohan and M J Antony
May 19, 2018 08:12 IST
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JD-S sources read it as an attempt by Modi to sow seeds of doubt in the Opposition ranks.
Archis Mohan and M J Antony report.

Former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, centre. Photograph: ANI

IMAGE: Former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, centre. Photograph: ANI

Speculation, claims and counter-claims of defections and threats by leaders of the parties in the fray -- the Bharatiya Janata Party on one side, and the Congress and Janata Dal-Secular alliance on the other -- continued in Bengaluru.

BJP sources claimed they were in touch with Congress legislators while JD-S sources warned the BJP not to push them to engineer defections from the BJP.

The Congress alleged two of its legislators, including Anand Singh, were 'missing', but said the remaining 76 were with the party.

Friday was also JD-S leader and former prime minister H D Deve Gowda's 85th birthday.

And, like in the past four years, Prime Minister Narendra D Modi tweeted: 'Spoke to our former prime minister Shri HD Deve Gowda ji and conveyed birthday wishes to him. I pray for his good health and long life.'

This time, however, the PM's tweet was different in that it pointedly stated that he spoke to Deve Gowda, which JD-S sources read as an attempt by Modi to sow seeds of doubt in the Opposition ranks.


JD-S sources asserted its flock of 37 newly-elected legislators, and lone legislator of ally Bahujan Samaj Party, was united. BSP chief Mayawati called up the JD-S leadership to take stock of the situation.

JD-S leader H D Kumaraswamy has been speaking to all of his party's legislators and also those of the Congress who have allegedly received threats of being under scanner of central probe agencies.

In the Congress, D K Shivakumar is shouldering the responsibility of keeping the lawmakers together.

On Thursday night, the Congress had taken its legislators to Hyderabad through buses. They would now be brought back to Bengaluru in time for the administration of oath.

Former chief minister Siddaramaiah said the BJP has 104 members, when they need 112 to reach the majority mark in the 222-member assembly.

He said an Independent and the lone member of the KPJP, a Karnataka-based party, had supported the Congress-JD-S.

the With Congress' 78, JD-S and BSP's 38, and Independents, the number adds up to 118. As Kumaraswamy has won two seats, it stands at 117.

In the Supreme Court, while there was intense speculation on the list submitted by B S Yeddyurappa to the governor, the letter disclosed did not contain names of the supporting legislators but only an assurance that he has the support of the majority of members, which included names of BJP members and unnamed 'others'.

Senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi, representing the chief minister, sought more time for the floor test from the Supreme Court bench, saying the opposite group had 'locked up' its members in a Kochi hotel and it would require at least 48 hours for gathering all members.

The Supreme Court rejected the demand. It passed similar orders cutting short period for floor test in the cases of Goa and Meghalaya.

The Supreme Court order is of an interim nature and the main petitions are still kept pending before it. No date has been fixed for the next hearing and the court is going on a long recess from Saturday.

On Friday evening, the Congress elected Siddaramaiah its legislature party leader. It also released an audio clip where BJP leader Janardhan Reddy was purportedly trying to woo a Congress lawmaker. The BJP termed the audio clip fake.

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Archis Mohan and M J Antony
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