HT Image
HT Image

Karnataka witnesses political tamasha

Kumaraswamy quits, decides to back BJP, and then backs off, report BR Srikanth and Shekhar Iyer. Read on...
Hindustan Times | By BR Srikanth and Shekhar Iyer, Bangalore
UPDATED ON OCT 09, 2007 02:43 AM IST

Karnataka chief minister HD Kumaraswamy finally resigned on Monday night, after a day of high drama, paving the way for the imposition of President's Rule in the state.

Kumaraswamy met governor Rajeshwar Thakur in the morning to discuss his options after the BJP withdrew to support to his government on Sunday, following Kumaraswamy's unwillingness to honour the agreement reached with the BJP 20 months ago, which required him to hand over the chief ministership to BJP leader BS Yediyurappa on October 3. The JD(S), which has only 57 MLAs in a 225 member assembly, was reduced to a minority once the BJP's 79 member bloc withdrew support.

Governor’s advice
Although the chief minister refused to discuss the meeting, Raj Bhavan sources revealed that the governor had bluntly asked him whether he had any evidence to show he still enjoyed a majority in the assembly. When no such proof was forthcoming, Thakur asked Kumaraswamy for his views on tendering his resignation. Kumaraswamy had already called a special session of the assembly on October 18 to prove his majority, but the governor hinted that there was no point in waiting that long if the outcome was already a certainty.

Earlier in the morning, the Congress, with 66 MLAs in the assembly, had spelt out its stand saying that it would not be supporting the JD(S) following the BJP's pullout, and demanded dismissal of Kumaraswamy. It also sought imposition President's rule.

Future course of action
From the Raj Bhavan Kumaraswamy drove straight to his father HD Deve Gowda's residence where party legislators discussed their future course of action. Party sources revealed that there were heated discussions and contrary views expressed.

Immediately after leaving Deve Gowda's home, Kumaraswamy appeared to have second thoughts about reneging on his agreement with the BJP. Feelers were sent to Yediyurappa, who had already embarked on a state wide tour, to campaign against the JD(S)'s 'betrayal', was urged to return.

Yediyurappa back
Yediyurappa, who had left by car, immediately flew back from Tumkur town in a hastily rented helicopter. Legislators of both the JD(S) and the BJP, including Yediyurappa and Kumaraswamy, held a hurried meeting, at which, sources revealed, Kumaraswamy said the JD(S) was prepared to back Yediyurappa as chief minister.

Simultaneously, a disturbed Deve Gowda, who was opposed to this turn of events, wasted no time in calling up Thakur to request for dissolution of the assembly when he feared another JD(S)-BJP tie-up behind his back could be in the offing.

Gowda who had persuaded his son to dump the BJP and seek fresh elections was upset that Kumarasway should call up Yediruppa at this stage.

Fearing an open revolt, Kumaraswamy explained to his father that the MLAs were upset that the JD(S)-BJP pact had collapsed and they were not confident of winning the next polls.

Once bitten...
Meanwhile, BJP president Rajnath Singh who was in Agra was taken by surprise. So was Yashwant Sinha, BJP in-charge for Karnataka, who was visiting Hazaribagh. Later, Yediruappa briefed Sinha on Kumaraswamy’s offer which was that his party would provide “outside” support for him to become Chief Minister.

The senior BJP leaders were in no mood to be taken for a ride again by the JD(S) leaders even if they were willing to defy Gowda again. “After what we have gone through, we cannot be party to such arrangement when our party has sought fresh polls,” Sinha told HT. Simultaneously many JD(S) MLAs too refused to accept the new turn of events and the deal fell through.

Story Saved