KARNATAKA

Somashekar gives new Govt. six months

HUBLI, JUNE 1. B. Somashekar, President of the State unit of the Janata Dal (United), has said he doubts whether the Congress-Janata Dal (Secular) coalition Government in the State will survive for six months.

Mr. Somashekar told presspersons here today that there were too many contradictions in the arrangement. He cited in this connection the statement made by the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) President, B. Janardhana Poojary, that the Maharashtra-type arrangement did not cover the distribution of portfolios.

The people were going to suffer in the bargain he said, and noted.

Instead of coming out with the common minimum programme, the Congress and the JD(S) had begun to quarrel over the allocation of portfolios, he said.

The uncertain situation was reflected in the manner in which the new Government had "turned a blind eye" to the plight of students seeking admission to professional courses, he said. The least the Government could do was to offer to reimburse the fees paid by poor and meritorious students. He was of the view that there was no need for the State Government to go by the Murgod Committee report on the fee structure.

On the observations of Mr. Siddaramaiah that the new Government would like to review the budget presented by the previous Government, Mr. Somashekar said, "Let him first become the Finance Minister and then talk."

Mr. Somashekar charged that the Chief Minister, N. Dharam Singh, was being "remote controlled" by the JD(S) national President, H.D. Deve Gowda. It was the "Deve Gowda-led Congress and the Sonia Gandhi-led Janata Dal Government" that was ruling the State.

According to him, the `S' in JD(S) stood not for `Secular' but `Sonia.'

Mr. Somashekar wanted the new Government to clear the hurdles in the way of the execution of the Kalasa and Bandori nala projects designed to augment the storage in the Malaprabha reservoir and improve the drinking water supply to Hubli-Dharwad. Now that the Congress was in power both in the State and at the Centre, it should be possible to get over the difficulties posed by Goa and find a solution, he said.

Mr. Somashekar declined to say whether the JD(U) and the BJP would jointly fight the zilla panchayat elections next year. On the impending elections for four seats in the Rajya Sabha, the party was of the view that of the two sitting members who retired, one was from the JD(U) and the other from the BJP. Both of them should be supported by the alliance. The party would also discuss the situation with regard to the other two seats with the BJP, he said.

Basavaraj Bommai, JD(U) MLC, said he sensed danger to Karnataka's interests at the Centre. This was because of the inclusion of Cauvery issue in the common minimum programme of the United Progressive Alliance and the capacity of the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) to pressure the Union Government to favour Tamil Nadu.

It was the duty of the Congress-JD(S) Government to reassure the people of the State that its interests would be safeguarded, he added.