CK Jaffer Sharief bats for Congress alliance

Bengaluru: JD (S) patriarch H D Deve Gowda found an ally in former Union minister C K Jaffer Sharief as he prodded Congress general secretary K C Venugopal to get his party legislators to join the coalition headed by his son H D Kumaraswamy with Dr G Parameshwara as his deputy.

The scene unfolded in Mr Gowda's residence where the former prime minister was watching live telecast of election results along with his kin and a couple of party MLCs and an emissary sent by Congress leaders to fix an appointment with the leader. 

Even as they waited for the arrival of Mr Kumaraswamy, Mr Gowda was confabulating over the phone with senior leaders like Ghulam Nabi Azad and Mr Venugopal on the contours of the post-poll coalition arrangement. At this juncture, Mr Sharief joined the conversation and asked Mr Venugopal to facilitate a participative coalition rather than merely extend support to JD (S). 

The veteran Congress leader concurred with Mr Gowda that a strong coalition arrangement should be in place to prevent the BJP from ruling the state.  

Sources privy to discussions in Mr Gowda's residence said the former prime minister and Mr Sharief were keen about stability of the coalition with a Dalit leader like Dr Parameshwara as the deputy chief minister. 

National spokesperson of JD (S), Danish Ali, who facilitated a communication channel between senior Congress leaders and Mr Gowda, said his party would ensure a participative coalition with Congress. 

"Mr Azad and myself met soon after the exit polls to discuss about the possibility of a coalition. I got in touch with Mr Gowda as soon as Mr Azad returned with a go-ahead from top leaders of the party," he told Deccan Chronicle. 

Source said though Mr Gowda spurned offers from top BJP leaders in New Delhi, advocate Dorai Raju, who played a crucial game in formation of the Dal-BJP coalition in 2006, rushed to meet Mr Kumaraswamy and persuade him to support the BJP. 

Mr Kumaraswamy, however, turned down the plea and left for Raj Bhavan to meet Governor Vajubhai Vala and stake claim to form the government.

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