Special Correspondent

Kharge-Krishna meeting gives rise to speculation

Bangalore: Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh on Saturday hit back at his detractors in the Congress and said it was only the Congress high command that can take a decision on a leadership change in the State.

Sources in the Chief Minister's secretariat told The Hindu that there was no discussion at any level, including the party high command, on leadership change in the State and that the Chief Minister was in constant touch with Congress president Sonia Gandhi, particularly after the terrorist attack on the Indian Institute of Science campus.

All discussions between the top Congress leadership in New Delhi and the Chief Minister reportedly centred around law and order and the ways and means of stemming terrorist activities. Mr. Singh's outburst of sorts on Saturday was largely owing to the long meeting between Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee President Mallikarjun Kharge and Maharashtra Governor and former Chief Minister S.M. Krishna.

Several former ministers who have serious reservations against the continuance of the coalition Government in the State also called on Mr. Krishna, and reports had it that the discussions largely centred on the performance of the Congress in the recent panchayat elections and the need to impress upon the party high command to opt for mid-term elections in the State.

A section of the Congressmen has been favouring continuing the coalition arrangement but with a change of Chief Minister.

The Chief Minister was apparently perturbed by a section of the Congressmen making a beeline to Mr. Krishna whenever he is in Bangalore.