PRIME MINISTER H.D. Deve Gowda has made clear his keenness to establish a rapport with Congress President Sitaram Kesri and avoid the pinpricks that have plagued United Front-Congress relations. On January 27 when he met Congress leader K. Karunakaran, he emphasised that the sparring and sniping was undermining governance. And though polite as ever, Gowda did indicate that the option to join the government or withdraw support was there for the Congress, say UF sources. Late at night on January 30, when the two met again, the message was reinforced.
Front leaders point out that it is nobody’s argument that Gowda has overnight turned the drawback of being dependent on the Congress to his advantage. But the mood of the Front constituents and Deve Gowda himself for all his politeness, is that the UF is willing to be pushed only to a point by Sitaram Kesri.