JD(S) opts Congress as coalition partner; spurns BJP offer

PTI | ByPress Trust of India, Bangalore
May 17, 2004 12:22 AM IST

Accepting the Congress offer of forming a coalition Govt, Gowda was authorised to hold parleys with Sonia Gandhi on the formation of ministry.

A JDS-Congress coalition Government in Karnataka appeared a certainty on Sunday with former prime minister HD Deve Gowda's outfit dashing the hopes of BJP, which emerged as the single largest party in the just concluded assembly polls that threw up a hung Assembly.

HT Image
HT Image

Accepting the Congress offer of forming a coalition Government, a meeting of the JDS legislature party held in Bangalore authorised Gowda to hold parleys with Congress President Sonia Gandhi on the formation of the new ministry.

However, the party refused to divulge on the nature the coalition, but the Congress has already insisted that it should be on the Maharastra pattern where, as a bigger partner, the Congress has chief ministership and left the deputy chief ministership to its junior ally NCP.

The JDS decision evoked a sharp response from BJP, which dubbed the coming together of Gowda's party and Congress as a "defiance of and onslaught on the people's mandate" and said the "marriage of contradictions" may not last long leading to another elections soon in the state.

"It will be a Government without popular mandate. Mandate was for the Congress to sit in the opposition. It is trying to get into power through the backdoor route", Party spokesman Arun Jaitley told reporters.

Admitting that unless the BJP-led alliance was close to the half way mark it could not stake its claim to form Government, Jaitley said "if it is a Congress led Government, we would be delighted to sit in the opposition as people of Karnataka had rejected the Congress".

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