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Dharam Singh asked to prove majority by Jan 25

Source: PTI
Last updated on: January 19, 2006 01:39 IST
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Adding another twist to the political upheaval in Karnataka Chief Minister Dharam Singh was asked late Wednesday night to prove his majority by January 25, according to sources.

Hours earlier, a Bharatiya Janata Party and Janata Dal (Secular) faction led by H D Kumaraswamy met Governor T N Chaturvedi and staked claim to form an alternative coalition government in Karnataka.

Speaking to reporters after meeting the Governor along with Kumaraswamy, Bharatiya Janata Party leader B S Yediyurappa said they had staked their claim on government formation. Kumaraswamy said the Governor had told them that he would consider their claim.

BJP state President Jagadish Shettar said Kumaraswamy was elected the leader at a combined meeting of the legislators of both parties. Kumaraswamy said the JDS legislature party meeting presided over by its President N Thipanna decided to withdraw support to the government and stake claim to form a government with BJP.

Yediyurappa said the Governor had 'promised' them that he would take a decision on Wednesday night on their claim.

Kumaraswamy has 46 of the 58 MLAs with him and has broken away from the faction that remains loyal to his father, H D Deve Gowda.  

Caught unawares by his son's revolt, Deve Gowda shot off a letter to the Governor asking him not to give any credence to the letter given by a 'section of his party MLAs' withdrawing support to the government.

He maintained that there was no question of aligning with BJP and that the situation would be reviewed. Gowda said he would meet Congress President Sonia Gandhi after the national executive meeting.

BJP leader M Venkaiah Naidu told reporters that BJP, which had emerged the single largest party with 79 MLAs in a House of 224, has agreed that Kumaraswamy would be the chief minister of the new coalition for the first 20 months and the BJP for the remaining period in a power-sharing arrangement on the J&K model.

BJP will have its Deputy Chief Minister now.

Meanwhile, Karnataka Chief Minister N Dharam Singh had sought to put up a brave face by asserting that his coalition government faced no problem.

"Everything is okay," Dharam told reporters after holding an emergency cabinet meeting. Interestingly, of the 14 JD(S) ministers, only three attended the meeting.

Senior JD(S) leader, PGR Sindhia, while terming the letter as invalid, said a party delegation, including Deputy Chief Minister M P Prakash, would meet the governor and urge him not to act upon Kumaraswamy's letter. Prakash has also called the letter invalid and without sanction, as any letter other than one given by him as leader of the legislature party would not have any validity.

Prakash also clarified that there was no question of withdrawing support to the government.

The JD(S) has 58 members in the 224 member Karnataka Assembly. The Congress party has 65 seats while the BJP has 79 seats.

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