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Deve Gowda calls meeting of party rebels

Gowda called a meeting of the party's rebel legislators who have vowed to oust Chief Minister N Dharam Singh.

india Updated: Jan 25, 2006 17:34 IST

Janata Dal (S) chief HD Deve Gowda returned to Bangalore on Wednesday after talks with Congress president Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi.

Gowda called a meeting of the party's rebel legislators who have vowed to oust Chief Minister N Dharam Singh.

With prospects of another meeting with Gandhi appearing remote, the former prime minister apprised party leaders of his discussions with the Congress president and Congress leaders Pranab Mukherjee and Ahmed Patel, party sources said.

Deve Gowda met his party colleagues, including Deputy Chief Minister MP Prakash and Finance Minister PGR Sindhia. Deve Gowda had met Gandhi at her residence on Tuesday.

Although Deve Gowda complained to Gandhi how a section of her party leaders in Karnataka tried to split the Janata Dal (S) and humiliate him, she reportedly told him to first bring his son and rebel leader HD Kumaraswamy back into the ruling coalition before the Congress could consider his various demands to continue the present alliance.

Deve Gowda, however, refused to brief the media on his meeting with Gandhi.

Meanwhile, a pall of gloom descended in the Congress circles, with party leaders and supporters resigning themselves to the collapse of the 20-month-old coalition.

Dharam Singh, who faces the trust vote on Friday in the state assembly, declined to comment on the Deve Gowda-Gandhi talks.

A section of the Congress is still hoping against hope that Deve Gowda may rein in the rebel legislators of his party and save the government.

First Published: Jan 25, 2006 16:53 IST