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Dad & son cloud Cong salvage bid
- Gowda backs junior’s motive ‘100 times’
I have suffered personal humiliation…. I am going to inform Sonia Gandhi how attempts were made to destabilise the government from the first day itself
— Deve Gowda

Jan. 23: Former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda today virtually justified his son’s coup in Karnataka, clouding the prospects of a salvage operation by the Congress.

On a day of dramatic developments within the Janata Dal (Secular) family, Gowda’s son Kumaraswamy drove from Goa, where he is camping along with rebel MLAs, to Hubli and later caught a flight to Bangalore.

In Hubli, the son said he was going to Hyderabad, which turned out to be a diversionary tactic.

The stage soon shifted to Gowda’s residence in the southern corner of Bangalore, where “Kumaranna” (Kumar the elder brother) met his father.

Gowda later told reporters: “I will say it 100 times, not one time but 100 times, that my son did this to save the party.”

The former Prime Minister had initially tried to distance himself from his son’s bid to ally with the BJP but few believed that Kumaraswamy would have taken the plunge without consulting his father.

An emotional Gowda today accused the Congress of humiliating him. “I have suffered personal humiliation in the last 18 months. I am going to inform Congress president Sonia Gandhi, whenever she calls me, how attempts were made to destabilise the coalition government from the first day itself by a few people.’’

Gowda is scheduled to meet Sonia on Wednesday but there is an air of uncertainty now.

The former Prime Minister, however, declined to take questions on the fate of the coalition government in Karnataka. He also declined to say whether he approved Kumaraswamy’s move to withdraw support to the Congress and align with the BJP.

Gowda’s comments spell trouble for chief minister N. Dharam Singh who was hoping for a miracle during the floor test on January 27.

Dharam Singh met Sonia twice after he reached Hyderabad yesterday. Back-channel contacts were on between the Congress crisis-managers and Gowda, but sources conceded that they were not hopeful of a breakthrough.

The sources clarified that unless there was a “concrete” proposal from Gowda and a “commitment” to have no truck with the BJP, Sonia could have “second thoughts” about meeting him.

The sources said no “unreasonable” demand would be met but refused to say whether any such condition has been laid down.

A senior Dal (S) leader also met CPM chief Prakash Karat in Delhi today.

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