Neena Vyas

“No positive result in talks”

NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday decided to withdraw support to the Kumaraswamy government, ending the 20-month-old coalition arrangement between it and the Janata Dal (Secular) in Karnataka.

The BJP Parliamentary Board took the decision unanimously at a meeting here after party president Rajnath Singh told its members that his discussions with JD(S) president H.D. Deve Gowda on Friday did not yield any positive result, a euphemism for the JD(S) unwillingness to let a BJP candidate head the government for the remaining months of its tenure as had been agreed upon.

Senior BJP leader M. Venkaiah Naidu described the JD(S) refusal to “transfer power” despite a “transparent and clear agreement” as “the worst betrayal by any political party.” He said: “The people will teach them [JD(S) leaders] a fitting lesson.”

Gowda’s complaints

It is learnt that Mr. Singh briefed the board on Mr. Gowda’s litany of complaints against State BJP leaders. Mr. Singh is believed to have told him that he had never brought these complaints to him earlier. It was also pointed out that had the coalition arrangement not been working to the JD(S)’ satisfaction, it would have ended the relationship earlier instead of waiting till the time for transfer of power.

Yashwant Sinha, leader in charge of BJP affairs in Karnataka, told reporters that the party would like fresh elections held so that the people could decide who deserved the mandate.

He said Legislature Party leader B.S. Yediyurappa and State president Sadanand Gowda, who were present at the board meeting, would give the Governor a letter withdrawing support to the Kumaraswamy government and explain the circumstances under which the BJP took the decision.

Mr. Sinha said the issue was “not transfer of power” or “loss of an opportunity for the BJP to have its first Chief Minister in a southern State.” The issue was “betrayal” by the JD(S) headed by a former Prime Minister. It entered into a “transparent” agreement with the BJP, widely publicised through a joint press conference addressed by Mr. Kumaraswamy and Mr. Yediyurappa. There was no ambiguity in that agreement.

The BJP was not interested in the politics of manoeuvring numbers. The moral of this story was the BJP had to learn to be more careful in the future. To betray was wrong, to be betrayed was not, Mr. Sinha said.

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