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Case comes in handy for Dharam Singh

By A. Jayaram

BANGALORE, AUG. 21. The Chief Minister, N. Dharam Singh, appears to have scored a point over his predecessor, S.M. Krishna, in being a greater opponent of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Hindutva ideology by reviving the case against the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Uma Bharti.

The case, which the S.M. Krishna Government wanted to withdraw in January 2002, the Dharam Singh-led coalition wants revived. It is no wonder as the Congress and the Janata Dal (Secular) entered into the coalition arrangement stating that they were doing so to keep the BJP out of power. The other aspect of the issue is that it is perhaps the only one case of a State Government deciding to prosecute the Chief Minister of another State. Fortunately, the two States do not share a border. There was, in the past, the police forces of two north-eastern States exchanging fire.

AICC's hand?

The State Government's action with regard to Ms. Bharti has also deflected the BJP's attack on the Congress on the issues of "tainted" Ministers and dishonouring of Veer Savarkar, which had disrupted parliamentary proceedings. The State Government has come to the rescue of the United Progressive Alliance Government at the Centre. According to sources, suggestions from the All-India Congress Committee with regard to the revival of the case against Ms. Bharti are not ruled out.

While the Krishna Government was not any less anti-BJP, circumstances had forced it to seek its cooperation during the various crises it faced, such as Cauvery waters, abduction of Kannada matinee idol Rajkumar by forest brigand Veerappan and the agitation in North Karnataka over the issue of establishment of a Bench of the Karnataka High Court. Moreover, the Krishna Government had to do business with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre, whereas the Dharam Singh Government enjoys the blessings of the Congress-led Government.

Row over maidan

However, there is also the fear of the revival of the Hubli Idgah Maidan controversy, which was on the backburner for a decade now. Two judicial commissions had inquired into different incidents related to the Idgah Maidan. The Deve Gowda government in the State had brought about a solution to it. The only emotive issue in the State for the BJP has been the Bababudangiri Dattapeetha issue. However, it did not figure in its election campaign except perhaps in Chikmagalur district. The BJP is now poised for a confrontation with the coalition Government.

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