No plans to quit Third Front: Deve Gowda (Second Lead)

May 13th, 2009 - 8:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia Gandhi Bangalore, May 13 (IANS) Former prime minister and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) supremo H.D. Deve Gowda Wednesday maintained that his party was not quitting the Third Front and said his son H.D. Kumaraswamy met Congress president Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi late Tuesday to discuss some issues concerning the state.
“Kumaraswamy met Sonia Gandhi to discuss state issues, including a joint strategy to destroy the ‘Operation Kamal’ epidemic of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the state. The media should not read too much into the meeting,” Deve Gowda told reporters at a press conference at his residence.

‘Operation Kamal’ is the reference to the BJP strategy to win over legislators and leaders of the Congress and the JD-S in Karnataka for joining the ruling party with promises of positions in power, including cabinet posts.

The strategy was used to secure simple majority, of 113 seats, in the 225-member state legislative assembly, as the BJP won only 110 seats in the May 2004 elections.

Denying that the JD-S was moving away from the Third Front, Deve Gowda said the party was very much a part of the Third Front and would definitely be with it in future also.

“I wish to reiterate our resolve to form a Third Front-led government at the centre, providing an alternative and inclusive economic, developmental and governance model,” he said quoting from Kumaraswamy’s statement.

The former prime minister said that Kumaraswamy had already clarified in New Delhi late Tuesday about the meeting where the discussions were restricted to the situation in Karnataka and there were no discussions on national politics.

“I am not finding fault with Kumaraswamy for not informing or taking my consent to meet Sonia Gandhi. As I have been down with fever and away at Hassan, my son could not contact me. Don’t forget, he was the state chief minister and is the party’s state president,” Deve Gowda reiterated.

In a damage control exercise, he also circulated a statement by Kumaraswamy, saying the meeting took place at the behest of some friends in the Congress.

Declining to entertain specific queries on the meeting, Deve Gowda dodged questions on who arranged the meeting or on whose behalf Kumaraswamy met the Congress president.

“Please wait for another two-three days to know where we stand. The JD-S is very much in the Third Front. Remember, it was I who had brought the various constituents of the Front together and launched it in Karnataka March 12,” Deve Gowda recalled.

An hour after Deve Gowda’s briefing, the state unit of the BJP said the meeting between Kumaraswamy and Gandhi had exposed the “double standards” of the “father-and-son party” (JD-S).

“Deve Gowda is pretending that he was unaware of the meeting. The fact is the father-and-son duo are running with the hare and hunting with the hounds. Kumaraswamy met Sonia Gandhi to seek a cabinet berth for the JD-S support in the event of the Congress returning to power,” BJP spokesperson V. Dhanjay Kumar told reporters.

Asserting that the BJP would win 20-plus of the state’s 28 Lok Sabha, Kumar said the JD-S would bite the dust after the May 16 results, as the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) would not only emerge as the single largest bloc, but also form the next government at the centre and the Third Front would vanish.

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