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Uneasy tidings in trip cut short

Bangalore, Jan. 25: The sudden arrival of former Prime Minister H.D. Deve Gowda from New Delhi this morning is an indication that relations have soured between the ruling coalition partners, with less than 48 hours to go for the confidence vote.

Gowda flew to Delhi on Tuesday and met Congress president Sonia Gandhi. As the talks were inconclusive, the Janata Dal (Secular) leader was to have gone back this morning for another round, party sources here said.

But Gowda cut short his visit and returned to Bangalore. He held several meetings with confidants through the day but refused to speak to the media.

Sources close to Gowda said he was expecting a call from Sonia “anytime”. But the call did not come.

His son Kumaraswamy, who has the support of Dal (S) MLAs, has brought the Dharam Singh government to the brink by walking out of the alliance.

Gowda met Kumaraswamy tonight. Party MLAs, who had been packed off to Goa since the crisis broke, are on their way back in two buses. Kumaraswamy told reporters the Dal (S) would vote out Singh and then form a government with the BJP.

BJP MLAs have been enjoying themselves in Kodaikanal for the past few days and will be back a day before the vote.

Sources said Gowda will decide on the fate of the government on Republic Day. “A final decision will be taken only after meeting the rebel MLAs tonight,’’ a source said.

Chief minister Dharam Singh has time till Friday to prove his majority.

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