OTHERS

JD(S) keen on keeping out some leaders

BANGALORE, AUG. 21. The Janata Dal (Secular) has made it plain that if the Congress is interested in the survival of the coalition Government headed by the Chief Minister, N. Dharam Singh, it should keep certain "tainted Ministers" of the previous government out of the Ministry.

The acceptance of the "condition" set by the Janata Dal (S), which has been made known to the Congress President and United Progressive Alliance Chairman, Sonia Gandhi, and the Political Secretary to the Congress President, Ahmed Patel, is necessary if the Government is to have a smooth sailing. At no cost will the Janata Dal (S) allow the Congress to include at least three former Ministers — D.K. Shivakumar, R.V. Deshpande and A. Krishnappa. It is, however, stated that by mentioning the names of the three former Ministers, the Janata Dal (S) is attempting to strike a bargain to keep out Mr. Shivakumar from the Ministry.

Speaking to The Hindu , Congress sources pointed out that no case was made out against them for any omission or commission. They said that the three leaders had not responded to allegations to enable the party continue its understanding with its coalition partner.

However, if they were kept out of the Ministry, it could trigger a problem in the Congress. Most of the Congress legislators were now in New Delhi to draw the attention of the party High Command. Sources in the Janata Dal (S) said the party was also firm that the expansion of the Ministry should be completed by next weekend, and sharing of all portfolios and the top posts in boards and corporations should be as per the "Maharashtra formula."

Prior to his departure to New Delhi on Friday, the Chief Minister, N. Dharam Singh, issued directions seeking the resignation of the chairmen of all boards and corporations. Ministry expansion

Mr. Dharam Singh might expand the Ministry either on Wednesday or Saturday. He has to protect the interests of the Congress, particularly its elected representatives, and give in, to an extent, to the Janata Dal (S). The Janata Dal (S) is against the inclusion of the three former Ministers since they were allegedly involved in land scams. The party has prepared a "chargesheet" and submitted it to the Political Secretary to the Congress President.

Former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda had discussions with the Chief Minister in New Delhi late on Friday, and his son, H.D. Kumaraswamy, is holding discussions on the Ministry expansion. Mr. Deve Gowda, who arrived in Bangalore today, will leave for New Delhi on Monday if his presence is needed.

The Chief Minister has held discussions with some of the Congress aspirants, including Mr. Shivakumar. It was said that Mr. Shivakumar had agreed to stay out of the Ministry if some of his close associates were inducted.