Kumaraswamy meets Sonia, Deve Gowda to face media Wednesday (Second Lead)

May 13th, 2009 - 1:06 am ICT by IANS  

Sonia Gandhi New Delhi/Bangalore, May 12 (IANS) Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy late Tuesday met Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, giving the jitters to the Left parties, though he maintained his party was not quitting the Third Front. His father and former prime minister H.D. Deve Gowda will address the media Wednesday, possibly to clarify the party’s position.
In Bangalore, as news of Kumaraswamy’s meeting with Gandhi spread, JD-S chief Deve Gowda called a press conference for Wednesday.

A JD-S points person for media interactions sent SMSes saying Deve Gowda will meet the media at his residence, thought the message did not give details.

“I met madame (Gandhi) and discussed the Karnataka political activity,” Kumaraswamy told reporters after the meeting.

“There is no question of leaving the Third Front. I request the country (constituencies going to the polls Wednesday) to vote for the Third Front,” he added.

However, the nearly two-hour long meeting that came just four days ahead of the Lok Sabha results, was percieved as the JD-S getting closer to the Congress.

Late in the evening, Kumarswamy was seen driving into Gandhi’s 10 Janpath residence, attempting to avoid mediapersons.

TV channels soon aired the visuals of his car entering the residence with Kumaraswamy apparently trying to cover his face with handkerchief. He told reporters that he was only wiping the sweat off.

The JD-S-Congress meeting is viewed as a jolt to the Left parties, which are trying to form an anti-Congress, anti-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government after the elections.

It was JD-S, after all, that initiated efforts to form the Third Front by organising a rally at Tumkur, near Bangalore in March.

The unscheduled meeting would be the second shock for the Left parties. Two days ago, one of the key Third Front parties, Telangana Rashtra Samiti (TRS) of K. Chandrasekhar Rao, attended a rally organised by the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Ludhiana.

JD-S ties with the Left, particularly the Communist Party of India (Marxist), is a bit strained as the biggest Left party scuttled renomination of the lone JD-S Lok Sabha member from Kerala, M.P. Veerendra Kumar.

Deve Gowda has a reputation as tough bargainer and the Congress will have to concede a lot in Karnataka if it is going to win him over to its side.

Asked to comment on the meeting, Congress spokesman Abhishek Manu Singhvi said the party was these days holding “informal meetings” with other “secular parties” to form post-poll alliances.

“We welcome all the secular parties,” Singhvi told a TV channel, refusing to give any details about Kumaraswamy’s meeting with Gandhi.

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