Special Correspondent

Decision to topple Dharam Singh Government is "against the accepted principles of the party"

NEW DELHI: The Janata Dal (Secular) headed by former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda on Saturday suspended Karnataka Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy and 39 other MLAs from the party.

The suspension would take immediate effect. Danish Ali, JD (S) secretary general and spokesman, told reporters here that the action was taken as the decision taken by the MLAs [to topple the Dharam Singh Government] was against the "accepted principles of the party." The matter will be placed before the party national executive committee, which meets in the capital on Monday.

The party has been rocked by rebellion spearheaded by Mr. Kumaraswamy as he joined hands with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to pull down the Congress-supported Dharam Singh Government and capture power in Karnataka.

Mr. Gowda ordered the suspension a day after he withdrew his resignation as the JD (S) national president. In a letter to party senior vice-president Bapu Kaldate, Mr. Gowda said he had resigned last month after being "annoyed by the recent political developments in the Karnataka State Legislature." After introspection he had decided to keep the party intact and continue as party president as the JD (S) was "wedded to certain principles and policies and, therefore, it is not proper for me to run away from my responsibilities."

Embarrassed by the revolt by a majority of the party MLAs, the JD (S) national leadership had been contemplating disciplinary action against the erring legislators. Mr. Gowda had indicated a week ago in Bangalore that action would be initiated against the 40 MLAs. The BJP-JD (S) Government won the vote of confidence on February 9 with a tally of 138-66, a week after Mr. Kumaraswamy assumed office as Chief Minister. In his reply in the State Assembly, the Chief Minister had exuded confidence that he would win over his father, who had opposed the alliance with the BJP on ideological grounds and due to his "commitment to secularism." Mr. Kumaraswamy said that he was not doctrinaire in his approach and declared development of the State as his credo. Both he and his father were devoted to the uplift of the poor, he stated.

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