Kumaraswamy to quit on Oct 3

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi Sept 27 | Updated: Sep 28 2007, 04:26am hrs
Trouble loomed large before the coalition government in Karnataka after the JD(S), striking a belligerent note, on Thursday pulled out of talks to facilitate transfer of power to the BJP in the wake of a murder charge filed against chief minister HD Kumaraswamy by his own tourism minister B Sriramulu, who is from the saffron party.

Meanwhile, Kumaraswamy said that he would step down on October 3.

Calling off parleys with top BJP leaders including a luncheon meet with BJP president Rajnath Singh and Yashwant Sinha, JD(S) leader HD Deve Gowda, who had reached here on Wednesday for talks, went back to Bangalore on Thursday morning.

I will not resume talks till a congenial atmosphere is created by BJP leaders. The situation is not conducive for talks on power transfer. How can I do that when my son is facing grave charges of attempt to murder that too by his cabinet minister, Deve Gowda told a press conference in Bangalore. Throwing the ball back into the BJPs court, he maintained that there is no point in holding talks on power transfer till situation becomes clear.

The day when BJP create a healthy atmosphere for such talks, I will go for talks, if BJP leaders like Rajnath, Vajpayee call me, he said. The veteran leader made it clear that he would not take any initiative to open dialogue with the BJP leaders.

In a statement that cast doubts over transfer of power, he said, If we give power to these persons who make allegations against the CM, how will they behave later.

However, the BJP ducked Gowdas remarks with party president maintaining he had not seen his statements. Party circles maintained that the leadership had decided not to get provoked by Gowda, which could subsequently give him an excuse to break away from the coalition. The assessment is that the JD(S) may not be too keen to handover power, and, therefore, has been trying hard to avoid the takeover. BS Yediyurappa, the BJPs chief ministerial candidate and deputy chief minister, had made statements earlier on the issue but, of late, has kept a low profile.

However, reports from Bangalore said that tourism minister Sriramulu had indeed lodged a complaint on September 25 in Bellary alleging that Kumaraswamy was behind a conspiracy to eliminate him.

The Congress is adopting a wait-and-watch approach. The ball is in their court, a senior leader said when asked if the Congress would extend support to the JD(S).