BJP sends Sinha to Bangalore, Kumaraswamy denies stepping down

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New Delhi, Sep 28 (UNI) An amicable end to the prevailing confusion over the BJP assuming power in Karnataka from its coalition partner Janata Dal (Secular) on October 3 was still not in sight today with both sides making conflicting statements on the issue.

The Congress also seemed disinterested in intervening in the ongoing imbroglio in the state.

The BJP dispatched senior leader Yashwant Sinha to study and report on the political developments in the state, even as Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy denied media reports that he would step down on October 3 to handover power to the coalition partner as per the pre-government formation agreement.

Media reports yesterday said that Mr Kumaraswamy would be demitting office on October 3.

Speaking to newspersons at his official residence 'Krishna,' the Chief Minister denied making any such statement.

''I never said that I would be resigning on October 3 as reported in a section of the media. The issue will be decided only after the meeting of JD(S) legislators on September 30,'' he said, clarifying that what he had only said was that the issue of transfer of power would be decided only after September 30.

Replying to a question, he said majority of the party leaders were mounting pressure on him not to demit office and he would take a final decision only after the process of local body elections was over. The elections for 209 local bodies is being held today.

The Chief Minister said the matter would be discussed in detail at the legislators' meeting.

Meanwhile, BJP president Rajnath Singh expressed hope that the power transfer within BJD(S)-BJP coalition in Karnataka would take place in a smooth manner as per the agreed schedule.

Talking to mediapersons in Jaipur, Mr Singh said that state leadership of both the coalition partners were already tackling the issue and Mr Kumaraswamy had also conveyed to him that he was in the Chief Minister's chair till the agreed deadline (October 3, 2007).

About former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda's stand over the issue, Mr Singh claimed that he had said nothing against the transfer of power from JD(S) to BJP.

Noting that the party Karnataka unit's incharge Yashwant Sinha would talk with the state leadership of both parties tomorrow, he said Mr Sinha would also hold talks with Mr Deve Gowda.

''I shall also speak to Mr Deve Gowda'', the BJP chief said.

Maintaining that the BJP believed the transfer of power is taking place according to the schedule, party spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy said the party would react only after it has received a report from Mr Sinha who is an experienced and tactful leader to tackle the matter.

Asked about the possibility of sacking BJP minister Sriramulu who had filed an FIR against Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy in an election related matter, Mr Rudy said all these questions can be answered only after receiving Mr Sinha's assessment.

The party deliberately chose to maintain a low profile even in the light of an aggressive stance by JD(S) supremo H D Deve Gowda, who chose to skip the scheduled meetings with the BJP leadership yesterday. ''It is a mature way of dealing with the issue especially when the party was in the process of facing elections,'' a senior leader told UNI.

The party appears to be divided on the issue of sacking its minister. While one section believes that the minister's action was incorrect and a disciplinary action be taken to molify the ruffled feelings of the JD(S), the other section feels that the action on the minister can only be taken if the coalition partner is willing to hand over power.

Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa also said he will meet the former Prime Minister and JD(S) supremo in a couple of days to discuss the recent political developments in the state, including power sharing issue.

Talking to newspersons at Mudukathure, near Mysore, he said he would also meet the Chief Minister on issues raised by some BJP Ministers and leaders affecting the transfer of power in the state.

He expressed confidence that the differences would be sorted out by meeting both the leaders even as he declined to divulge any information on transfer of the power which was scheduled to take place on October 3.

The Congress Party seems to be not inclined to muddle in the state, with the thinking in the party -- which shared power with the JD(S) in Karnataka 20 months ago -- being not to extend support to the Kumaraswamy government in the event of the present ruling JD(S)-BJP coalition breaking. ''We want the government to go in the event of a crisis developing within the present ruling coalition,'' a senior Congress leader said, pointing out that ''we will not marry the JD(S).'' Earlier, AICC Spokesman Abishek Manu Singhvi told mediapersons that there was no question of Congress taking any position on Karnataka.

UNI

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