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`Party's stand will be made clear after withdrawal of nominations'

Congress not to support Rajiv ChandrashekarBJP, JD(S) accused of choosing outsiders and industrialists BJP-JD(S) CMP termed a copy of Congress-JD(S) CMP

GULBARGA: The former Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh on Sunday clarified that the Congress had not taken a final decision on extending support to the non-Congress candidate in the elections to the Rajya Sabha scheduled to be held on March 30.

Talking to The Hindu, Mr. Singh said the issue was discussed with AICC General Secretary A.K. Antony, who is in charge of Karnataka affairs, and the party high command had said a final decision would be taken after the withdrawal of nomination papers.

Surplus votes

However, Mr. Singh said the Congress would not allot the surplus votes to industrialist Rajiv Chandrashekar, who has been sponsored by the BJP and the Janata Dal (S). He said the Congress was in favour of extending support to U.R. Ananthamurthy, writer, for his secular credentials.

However, a final decision on the surplus votes would be taken on Monday after the withdrawal of nominations.

Mr. Singh accused the BJP and Janata Dal (S) of choosing outsiders and industrialists in the biennial elections for extraneous considerations and said both the parties had set a bad precedent by fielding M. Venkaiah Naidu and industrialist M.A.M. Ramaswamy for the elections to the Rajya Sabha.

BJP criticised

He took a dig at the BJP and the Janata Dal (S) leadership for fielding Mr. Chandrashekar and wanted to know why the two parties did not field Shakuntala Hegde, wife of former Chief Minister Ramakrishna Hegde, when she had a good chance of winning the elections this time. Ms. Hegde was fielded by the BJP in the last elections and she had lost.

Both the BJP and Janata Dal (S) owed an explanation to the people of the State for fielding outsiders, he said.

CMP

On the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) announced by the BJP-JD(S) combine, Mr. Singh said this was nothing but a copy of the previous CMP announced by the Congress-JD(S) combine.

While the BJP had included some of the issues mentioned in its manifesto in the CMP, there was nothing new from the Kumaraswamy group in the CMP.

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