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JD(S) minister, BJP leaders meeting sets off speculations; Both dismiss any significance

By PTI
|

Bengaluru, July 11: Amid the crisis faced by the coalition ministry in Karnataka, a meeting between a JDS Minister, considered close to Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy, and senior BJP leaders at a guest house here Thursday night created a buzz, but the two sides sought to dismiss it as "coincidental".

Sa Ra Mahesh

Kumaraswamy himself dismissed any significance in the meeting, calling it "casual" and saying the Congress-JDS combine in the state was going "strong despite the efforts to destabilise" it.

Shortly after ten dissident MLAs appeared before Assembly Speaker K R Ramesh Kumar and submitted resignations afresh, TV channels aired visuals showing state Tourism Minister Sa Ra Mahesh and BJP National General Secretary Muralidhar Rao and senior party leader K S Eshwarappa coming out of the government guest house.

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It sparked speculations about possibility of talks between JD(S) and BJP on exploring options of forming a government in the backdrop of 16 MLAs of the ruling combine resigning their assembly membership, plunging the 13-month old coalition into an existential crisis.

BJP state chief Yeddyurappa had recently ruled out any possibility of alliance with JD(S), citing bitter past experience in sharing power with the regional party.

Kumaraswamy in a tweet late Thursday night said: "Congress-JDS coalition in the state is going strong despite the efforts to destabilise. We are confident and prepared for a smooth and fruitful conduct of legislative sessions.

"It is unnecessary to give importance to Tourism Minister Sa Ra Mahesh's casual meeting with BJP leaders at the new building of KK guest house, managed by (state-run) KSTDC which comes under his (Mahesh's) portfolio," he added.

Earlier, speaking to a local news channel, Mahesh said he happened to cross Eshwarappa as both were at the guest house and had a small chat "over constituency related matter".

JD(S) in a separate tweet clarified the meeting was coincidental and there was no need to attach any special meaning to it.

It was common for MLAs and Ministers to go to Kumara Krupa (KK) Guest House for rest. At that time Sa Ra Mahesh has coincidentally met Eshwarappa and Muralidhar Rao on the way. There was no need to give special meaning for it.

JD(S) Congress government was stable and able governance will continue, the party said.

Muralidhar Rao too tweeted denying any discussion. There is no truth in any kind of discussion with JDS minister.

In a public place it was a mere coincidence. Don't go by highly speculative sensationalisation, he said.

BJP and JD(S) had earlier formed a coalition government in 2006 with Kumaraswamy as Chief Minister and Yeddyurappa as his deputy, under a power-sharing formula of 20 months each.

However, the government had collapsed as JD(S) did not transfer power to BJP, which later went on to win the next assembly elections and form its first ever government in the south.

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