Karnataka Congress in a fix after hung local bodies polls

New Delhi, Jan 5 | Updated: Jan 6 2006, 05:30am hrs
In attempting to hammer out a win-win for itself out of the hung verdict in local bodies polls in Karnataka, the Congress is seeking to hunt with the hounds and run with the hare by aligning with the Siddaramaiah-led party even while contending that it wanted its alliance in the state with the JD(S) to continue.

The Congress high command on Thursday said it had given its full freedom to the Karnataka unit of the party to decide on alliances in the wake of the hung outcome of the zilla parishad and taluka elections. Senior leader AK Antony, in charge of the state, asserted that the PCC had been given the mandate following a meeting which chief minister Dharam Singh and PCC chief Mallikarjun Kharge had with party chief Sonia Gandhi on Thursday evening.

The move is being viewed apprehensively by some, with the assessment that the JD(S) may pull out support in the event the Congress ties itself to Siddaramaiah.

The chief minister remained non-committal on persistent questions whether Congress would align with Siddaramaiah-led All India Progressive Janata Dal, a known detractor of JD(S) supremo HD Deve Gowda.

Mr Antony said there would be no harm to the coalition in Karnataka as there was no alliance for the local body polls and, We want to continue the coalition.

The chief minister dismissed suggestions that Mr Gowda was interfering in the state administration and said his was a result-oriented government which was going as per the common minimum programme.