Siddaramaiah faction, the real Janata Dal (S), says Ibrahim

The group will hold a parallel national council meeting of the party today

Special Correspondent

BANGALORE: Former Union Minister C.M. Ibrahim, who has been dismissive of the action taken against him and former Deputy Chief Minister Siddaramaiah by the Janata Dal (Secular), on Thursday said their group will go ahead with a parallel national council meeting of the party here on Friday.

He told presspersons here that the response to the AHINDA (federation of backward classes, minorities, and Dalits) convention in Hassan on Monday has inspired them.

He said the faction of the Janata Dal (S) under Mr. Siddaramaiah is the legitimate party and the one headed by H.D. Deve Gowda does not enjoy the support of a majority of the party workers.

`Decisions' likely

Mr. Ibrahim said party activists from Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and other States will attend the national council meeting, which is likely to take important decisions.

Mr. Ibrahim said Friday's meeting will be an "open meeting, unlike the national executive held in New Delhi." Of the 60 national executive members of the party, only 22 attended the meeting.

"Two non-members — M.P. Prakash and P.G.R. Sindhia — also attended the meeting," he added.

`No hasty decision'

He said the Siddaramaiah faction will not resort to any authoritarian or hasty decision, and will leave decisions to the judgement of the party activists. "We had appealed to the former Prime Minister to postpone the meeting of the national executive.

However, he went ahead with it and that has prompted us to hold a meeting of the national council here on Friday," he added.

Mr. Ibrahim and Mr. Siddaramaiah had written to Mr. Deve Gowda and other party leaders — Madhu Dandavate, Surendra Mohan, Bapu Kaldate and M.P. Veerendra Kumar — appealing to them to postpone the national executive committee meeting since they were preoccupied with the AHINDA convention in Hassan.

Notice termed illegal

They had stated that the suspension notice served on them was illegal and it violated the party constitution.

They were entitled to a hearing on the matter, they said. Copies of the letters were sent to Governor T.N. Chaturvedi and to Chief Election Commissioner B.B. Tandon.

Asked whether there is a split in the Janata Dal (S), Mr. Ibrahim said: "When we have said that ours is the legitimate Janata Dal (S), where is the question of a split? Let the Election Commission decide as to which is the original Janata Dal(S)." The parallel national council meeting will be held under the party banner and invitations have been sent to all top leaders, including Mr. Deve Gowda. "He may not have had the courtesy to invite us to the national executive but we have invited him. Let there be a threadbare and transparent discussion," Mr. Ibrahim said.

State-wide tour

Mr. Ibrahim said he and Mr. Siddaramaiah will tour the State — from Basavakalyan in Bidar to Kollegal in Chamarajanagar district — to ascertain the mood of the people. The two-month tour will cover all districts and a political decision will be taken thereafter.

The former Union Minister said Chief Minister N. Dharam Singh is at the mercy of Mr. Deve Gowda.

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