Monday, November 29, 1999

Backed Mallya after no response from Cong on poll pact: Gowda

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Bangalore, Jun 18 (PTI) JD(S) chief H D Deve Gowda today said his party decided to back independent candidate Vijay Mallya in the Rajya Sabha polls as efforts to forge an electoral understanding with Congress failed. Supported by 27 JD(S) MLAs and one independent, and with the help of second preference votes of the BJP, Mallya secured a berth to the Upper House from Karnataka yesterday. Displaying a May 19 letter written to Congress President Sonia Gandhi by him, Gowda said he had mooted an electoral understanding between the two parties and had appealed Congress to support candidature of his party leader Danish Ali with its surplus votes. He said though JD(S) had helped the Congress in a similar way earlier, he did not get any response to his letter seeking its support. Gowda said the party state unit president H D Kumaraswamy and the Congress had almost reached an understanding under which JD(S) would contest two seats for the Legislative Council and support the Congress'' second Rajya Sabha candidate in return. However, the Congress candidate for the Legislative Council polls did not withdraw, resulting in termination of the understanding, he said. "Local (Congress) leaders (in Karnataka) opposed two parties co-operating", Gowda said. He said JDS would remain equvi-distant from the Congress and the BJP, adding, he and Kumaraswamy would tour the entire state to strengthen the party.

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