Special Correspondent

Congress, BJP have gained equal number of seats in the body

Tie-up with JD(S) not acceptable to many CongressmenCongress leader optimistic of support from JD(S)BJP trying to 'woo' JD(S), says Vasanth Bangera

MANGALORE: The scene in the Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat is still hazy. With both the Congress and the BJP getting 15 seats in the 35-member house, the key to power is now with the Janata Dal (Secular), which has won five seats.

Former president of the zilla panchayat and Congress leader B. Sadananda Poonja, who is camping in Bangalore, told The Hindu over telephone that the Congress has two options: either to sit in the opposition or enter into a coalition with the Janata Dal (S) to prevent the BJP from coming to power. The latter is, however, not agreeable to any Congressman in the district.

Like-minded party

Janata Dal (S) leader Vasanth Bangera said his party will try to align with like-minded parties in the zilla panchayat. If this does not happen, it will stay alone. He said he has clear orders not to enter into a tie-up with the BJP. District Congress Committee president Blasius M. D'Souza said the Congress will come to power with the help of the Janata Dal (S). But the BJP interprets the zilla panchayat election results differently and calls it an anti-Congress mandate. BJP district unit president Pratapsimha Nayak said the Congress's tally has come down from 31 seats in 2000 elections to 15 seats while the BJP's tally have gone up from 1 seat to 15. He said the State BJP unit has indicated that the district BJP unit can take the "appropriate step."

Mr. Nayak said this means that the BJP can look forward to working with the Janata Dal (S) if that party wishes so. But if things do not work out, the BJP will be happy to sit in the Opposition, he added.