Gowda Jr pulls out, BJP ready | india | Hindustan Times
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Gowda Jr pulls out, BJP ready

THE 20-MONTH-OLD Congress-led coalition in Karnataka disintegrated on Wednesday after a breakaway group of key ally JD (S), led by state party working president H.D. Kumaraswamy, forged an alliance with the BJP for the formation of a new government. Kumaraswamy is the son of former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda.

india Updated: Jan 19, 2006 01:17 IST

THE 20-MONTH-OLD Congress-led coalition in Karnataka disintegrated on Wednesday after a breakaway group of key ally JD (S), led by state party working president H.D. Kumaraswamy, forged an alliance with the BJP for the formation of a new government. Kumaraswamy is the son of former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda.

Even as Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh put up a brave front saying his government still enjoyed majority support, Governor T.N. Chaturvedi briefed President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam on the crisis.

The split occurred on the eve of Chaturvedi's address to the joint session of the state legislature. It prompted a late night meeting of the governor with Constitution experts on whether he could address the session or not. "We are unsure about his address at this point," sources in Raj Bhavan said.

The CM, flanked by deputy CM and leader of JD (S) legislature party M.P. Prakash, told reporters after an emergency cabinet meeting that most of the Congress and JD (S) legislators were with him. He and his colleagues late in the night called on the governor to convince him of the support. Kumaraswamy too met the governor with individual letters of support from 39 party legislators and six independents -- all of them announcing his election as the new leader of the legislature party. He also gave a letter, as the new leader, that contained his decision to withdraw support to Dharam Singh.

Soon after, Kumaraswamy returned to Raj Bhavan along with BJP leaders -- leader of the opposition B.S. Yediyurappa and state unit president Jadagish Shettar. A joint letter signed by Shettar and N Thipanna, the state unit president of JD (S), informed the governor of Kumaraswamy's new status as the "leader of the joint legislature party".

The development has wrought a split within the Gowda family. Kumaraswamy defied his father by joining hands with the BJP. A visibly upset Gowda sent a letter to the governor saying Kumaraswamy's move was illegal.