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Deadline day, but CM refuses to resign

No one has blinked yet in Karnataka. Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy will not resign on Wednesday, the deadline for transfer of power, report Shekhar Iyer and BR Srikanth.
Hindustan Times | By Shekhar Iyer and BR Srikanth, New Delhi/bangalore
UPDATED ON OCT 03, 2007 04:00 AM IST

No one has blinked yet in Karnataka. Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy will not resign on Wednesday, the deadline for transfer of power. On the other hand, BJP ministers of his cabinet resigned to make him deliver on his part of the deal.

Crisis? Yes, but not the end of the road for either party. Not yet, at least.

BJP president Rajnath Singh has assured former prime minister HD Deve Gowda that his party will not withdraw support or take any precipitative action till the JD(S) political affairs committee meets in Delhi on October 5.

The JD(S) is apparently not going to deny the BJP a shot at the chief minister’s post. It is just playing hard, so that the party is allowed to keep some crucial portfolios it holds now.

The change of guard at the Vidhana Soudha is central to a power-sharing agreement arrived at by Gowda Jr and B.S. Yediyurappa of the BJP in early 2006. The change was to take place on October 3, after 20 months of coming to power.

However, with events not going according to the script, 17 BJP ministers led by deputy chief minister Yediyurappa handed their resignation letters to Kumaraswamy on Tuesday night.

Yediyurappa said the CM advised his BJP colleagues to wait till Friday, October 5, when the JD(S)’s parliamentary board meets in New Delhi and takes a decision on the issue of transfer of power. The same was conveyed to the BJP president when he spoke with Gowda. "No decision on withdrawal of support to Kumaraswamy till the JD(S) meet on October 5," said a senior BJP leader in Delhi.

Sources close to Rajnath Singh told HT, Gowda did not tell him at any stage that he wanted Kumaraswamy to continue as Chief Minister - contrary to reports that he said so to BJP leader Yashwant Sinha earlier.

A top BJP functionary told HT that "there is still a chance that Gowda will agree to the transfer of power and end the crisis though we are not sure how long the JD(S) will back a BJP Chief Minister."

To make it easier for the main players in the ring perhaps, the Congress, the principal opposition party, said it would face polls than return to another innings with JD (S).

"We have retained our top position in the urban local bodies elections though the issues were different from the assembly election. We are ready to face mid-term polls anytime," said Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) president Mallikarjun Kharge after a meeting of his party seniors.

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