KARNATAKA

Bommai prevents AIPJD split

BANGALORE Sept. 6. The much expected split in the All-India Progressive Janata Dal has fizzled out, at least for the time being, and legislators have decided to work together for the success of the party's candidates in the bypolls from the Hungund and Vemgal constituencies.

The split was avoided following a last-minute intervention by the party President and former Chief Minister, S.R. Bommai, who urged the legislators to stand united. Incidentally, the legislators who were keen on shifting their loyalties to the Janata Dal (Secular) belong to the Veerashaiva community and the intervention by Mr. Bommai and, earlier, by the party supremo, Ramakrishna Hegde, paid off.

Sources in the party told The Hindu here on Saturday that the AIPJD would now appeal to the Janata Dal (Secular) to support its candidates. The former Prime Minister and JD(S) President, H.D. Deve Gowda, had already made it clear that his party would back the AIPJD candidate, Krishna Byre Gowda, who is contesting the Vemgal seat. But, it is unlikely that the JD(S) will support the AIPJD's Hungund candidate.

The AIPJD legislators, who met this morning, decided to request Mr. Deve Gowda not to field JD(S) candidates in these constituencies. Meanwhile, the JD(S) has called a meeting of its parliamentary board to decide on the matter. The AIPJD meeting felt that since the party had a strong base in these constituencies, it could bag these seats easily. Fielding JD(S) candidates there would only split the votes and help the ruling Congress.

He said the bypolls, due towards the month-end, would serve as an index of the popular mood and the joint might of the two Janata Dal factions.

He said an AIPJD delegation, led by M.P. Prakash, would meet Mr. Deve Gowda to discuss the matter and secure the cooperation of the JD(S).

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