Ties between ruling JD(S), BJP in K'taka under strain

JD(S) chief Deve Gowda is miffed with the BJP over its aggressive Hindutva campaign, reports Shekhar Iyer.

india Updated: Oct 07, 2006 20:43 IST

The Janata Dal(Secular)-BJP government in Karnatka is headed for a serious trouble again.

Upset by Hindu-Muslim clashes in Mangalore and RSS outfits going on a warpath over a controversial shrine, former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) chief HD Gowda is asking his son, Chief Minister Kumaraswamy, to consider ending the ninth-month-old coalition if the saffron party’s doesn’t stop aggressive Hindutva campaign, his aides said on Saturday.

Two weeks ago, Deve Gowda gave the first warning to the BJP when a BJP Minister dubbed Tippu Sultan as “anti-Kannada” and his projection in history textbooks to be reviewed. A coordination meeting between the two parties in Bangalore recently could not iron out the differences, with a section of BJP insisting on its Hindutva programme.

Gowda sees a link between the spurt in communal violence in Dakshin Kannada district and Kumaraswamy’s decision to deny permission to the BJP and VHP activists for a “Shoba Yatra” at the dispute Datta Peeta site in Chikmangalur district in December in spite of Court order.

Gowda is also angry that central BJP leaders including AB Vajpayee, LK Advani, Rajnath Singh, and Sushma Swaraj have ignored a six-page letter he sent last month, asking them to check the RSS outfits. He had also warned them that any “precipitation” of the matter would make his party to be prepared for “all eventualities.”

With the BJP deciding not to respond to Gowda since the party is dealing only with Kumaraswamy, Gowda is said to have remarked that the BJP would learn at its peril the command structure in his party.

“You are aware that my secular credentials are dearer to me than the survival of any government and my life itself. I trust that you would make every effort to ensure that better sense prevails,” Gowda was quoted by a BJP leader as having written in the letter.

The northern Karnataka town is under the grip of communal violence since Wednesday in which two Muslims have died and more than 70 people have been injured. Curfew was imposed in the town on Friday night and shoot at sight orders have been issued.

The aides said Gowda has told his son that if the BJP ministers and leaders violate prohibitory orders in Mangalore or Datta Peeta, the government should act to “exhibit” his secular ideology and that of the JD(S). Accordingly, the Karnataka cabinet asked police to deal firmly with rioters in Mangalore.

Gowda thinks the BJP remained quiet when the Shoba yatra and the Datta Jayanti were banned last year, and some of its leaders were arrested the previous year when they violated prohibitory orders. The High Court has asked the government to maintain law and order. Only puja that prevailed to 1975 will be allowed. But a section of BJP opposed to the coalition was “hell-bent” on stoking communal trouble and putting the government in jeopardy.

Gowda, said his aides, did not want to rock the government but would press the eject button if “better sense” did not prevail in the BJP to stick to the agreed agenda of governance.

First Published: Oct 07, 2006 20:16 IST