TAMIL NADU

Janata Dal (U) may go it alone

BANGALORE, AUG. 1. The State unit of the Janata Dal (United) appears to be keen on severing its ties forged before the Lok Sabha and Assembly elections with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The State unit was in the forefront at the meeting of the national executive of the party held in New Delhi on Saturday and today in pleading for ending the tie-up with the BJP if the latter returned to the Hindutva ideology. In the recent elections, the Janata Dal (U) contested four Lok Sabha and 25 Assembly seats as an ally of the BJP. While all its four Lok Sabha candidates were defeated, the party won five Assembly seats. However, its State unit president, B. Somashekar, could not retain his Malavalli Assembly seat in Mandya district.

Rethink on ties

Much before the national executive meeting, the State leadership of the Janata Dal (U) was having a rethink on the continuance of ties with the BJP. Mr. Somashekar had said at a press conference in Mysore that they would not be with the BJP if it returned to Hindutva ideology.

Disappointment

However, one of the reasons for the change in the stand of the Janata Dal (U) is its disappointment over the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance's failure at the national level to retain power and in the State to come to power for the first time. There is dismay that the Janata Dal (Secular), which had a token presence of four members in the previous Assembly, is now in power in the State in alliance with the Congress.

It could increase its tally from four to 58. The Janata Dal (U), which was a different dispensation in 1999, had won 19 seats in the Assembly elections held that year. But the previous Assembly witnessed the disintegration of the party, which had assumed the name of All-India Progressive Janata Dal (AIPJD), with 18 of the MLAs either joining the Congress or the Janata Dal (Secular).

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