B.S. Satish Kumar

Sinha hopeful of power transfer

BANGALORE: Karnataka Tourism Minister B. Sriramulu of the Bharatiya Janata Party on Saturday tendered his resignation to Deputy Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa.

Mr. Sriramulu’s attempt-to-murder complaint against Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy, filed in a Bellary police station, resulted in talks between the BJP and the Janata Dal (Secular) on power transfer getting scuttled.

He put in his papers within a day of Yashwant Sinha, who is in charge of BJP affairs in Karnataka, arriving here to assess the situation after JD (S) national president H.D. Deve Gowda suspended talks with BJP central leaders. According to BJP sources, the resignation letter was forwarded to the Chief Minister.

Speaking to reporters after submitting his resignation, Mr. Sriramulu said: “I am voluntarily tendering my resignation, as the Chief Minister is trying to use the episode as a lame excuse to desist from transferring power to the BJP. I now demand that Mr. Kumaraswamy transfer power unconditionally. The people will not pardon him if he fails to keep his word.”

Mr. Sriramulu said he would not be part of the next coalition Ministry even if power was transferred.

Mr. Sinha who held two rounds of discussion with party leaders, told reporters that he would start talks with Mr. Gowda. “I will most probably meet him on Sunday if he agrees,” Mr. Sinha said.

Mr. Gowda and Mr. Kumaraswamy were in Tamil Nadu on Saturday.

Mr. Sinha said he was trying to establish a “congenial atmosphere” as demanded by Mr. Gowda as a pre-condition for talks.

He declared that Mr. Yediyurappa remained the party’s choice for Chief Minister. “It is our firm belief that the power-sharing agreement would be implemented by the JD (S) in the same form as it was envisaged 20 months ago.”

To a query, Mr. Sinha said the situation might have changed since the power-sharing pact was signed, but the understanding (between the coalition partners) would not change.

Wait and watch: CM

Special Correspondent reports from Villupuram:

Mr. Kumaraswamy said, “One has to wait and watch during the next two days to know the outcome of the power-sharing arrangement.” He was at Mudaliyarkuppam, 50 km from Villupuram in Tamil Nadu, to inaugurate the second phase of permanent houses built for tsunami-affected people.

Mr. Kumaraswamy told journalists that he was anguished that his own Cabinet Minister had lodged a police complaint, naming him in an alleged murder attempt. What was shocking was that none of the BJP leaders condemned Mr. Sriramulu’s action. They took it lightly and the indifference hurt him. If such was the predicament of a Chief Minister what would be the plight of democracy at the hands of the BJP, he asked.

More In: Today's Paper