Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) president, H.D. Deve Gowda, on Tuesday said that a final decision about which side his party would take during the trust vote in the Lok Sabha would be taken on July 18 during a meeting of senior party leaders in Bangalore. The JD(S) has three members in the Lok Sabha.

In a statement here, Mr. Gowda said that he was saddened and deeply hurt by the developments in national politics over the past few days. He said the “corporate world” was playing a “vital role” in deciding the political future of the country.

“Apart from the overnight U-turns in political ideologies, affiliations and loyalties, the apparently vital role being played out by the corporate world in full public glare in deciding the political future of this great nation is not only absurd but a disgrace to democracy itself,” the former Prime Minister said.

Mr. Gowda said that during his tenure as Prime Minister for 10 months and 20 days both the BJP and the Congress voted together against his government. “I feel proud that despite being projected by a section of the media as an opportunist and betrayer, I did not succumb at that time to the bait offered by either communal or market forces to remain in office,” he added.

The JD(S) chief said that he was also pained over the manner in which constitutionally created institutions were being subverted to subserve political interests and settle scores against political rivals. “There cannot be a greater threat to a healthy democracy and the credibility of such institutions,” Mr. Gowda said.

Criticising the Indo-U.S. civilian nuclear deal and cautioning the MPs and the people, the former Prime Minister, V.P. Singh, wondered at what cost India would be signing it. “While there may be some economic benefits, our political freedom would be severely restrained. To my mind, it is not in the national interest to compromise on political freedom,” he said in a statement.

Mr. Singh said the government should secure a trust vote before proceeding any further on the nuclear deal.

On the controversial Hyde Act, he said the U.S. President would be controlled by it and compelled to follow it.

“If any action of India is at variance with the Hyde Act, the U.S. President will be compelled to act. Our compulsion will be to keep the U.S. always in good humour,” Mr. Singh said.