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Rajnath Singh: we were not for surrender

Neena Vyas

NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party will “not surrender” to the “unreasonable demands” and “conditions” of the Janata Dal (Secular), BJP president Rajnath Singh said here on Monday. In fact, this was the ‘mantra’ he said he adopted from day one of the Karnataka political crisis and demanded fresh elections.

The BJP had made its position clear: a BJP-led government would be installed only on the basis of the “20:20 power sharing arrangement” arrived at just over 21 months ago when the JD(S) jettisoned its arrangement with the Congress to join hands with the BJP.

No fresh conditions would be accepted.

Mr. Singh told The Hindu here that when it became clear on Sunday that the JD(S) would not vote for the trust motion, he had given instructions to the State unit, the State president and Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa not to go ahead with the confidence motion but to resign. Yashwant Sinha, senior party leader in-charge of Karnataka affairs, was asked to go to Bangalore with clear instructions.

Mr. Singh said that from the very beginning, he made it clear that the BJP would not sign any memorandum of understanding (the 12-point charter of demands sent to him by JD-S president H.D. Deve Gowda.)

Unconditional support

The BJP took steps towards the installation of its government “only after the JD(S) told us that it was giving unconditional support; after the JD(S) issued such a letter of support to Governor Rameshwar Thakur; and after JD(S) leader H.D. Kumaraswamy accompanied Mr. Yeddyurappa to the Raj Bhavan when he went there to stake his claim.”

Commenting on the twists and turns in the relationship with the JD(S) since October 3, when that party failed to transfer the Chief Ministership to the BJP, Mr. Singh said: “I cannot imagine that a political leader who has been the Prime Minister of the country can do this.”

When the talks between him and Mr. Gowda failed in early October, after which the BJP withdrew its support to the Kumaraswamy government, “it was Mr. Deve Gowda who contacted me first. I was, in fact, in Lucknow. Even then, I did not want this alliance and preferred a fresh mandate from the people for I had already come to the conclusion that the JD(S) could not be trusted.”

Mr. Singh emphasised that only when Mr. Gowda repeated to him that the original conditions of the 20:20 power sharing agreement would be acceptable to the JD(S) did the BJP take steps towards government formation.

Elections way out

Mr. Singh said fresh elections were the best way out.

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