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KARNATAKA

Bangarappa formally joins Samajwadi Party

Monday 11 April 2005

On quitting BJP, Mr Bangarappa said he thought the party had given up communal politics but its Ranchi and Goa resolutions proved it has not changed.

New Delhi/Bangalore, DHNS: Former Karnataka chief minister S Bangarappa formalised yet another shift in his long political career on Thursday by joining the Samajwadi Party (SP) after resigning from the Lok Sabha.

Mr Bangarappa was formally admitted into the party by SP President and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav in the presence of party MPs Amar Singh and Jaya Prada.

Mr Bangarappa said it was a sort of home coming. “I entered the Karnataka legislative assembly in 1967-the same year as Mr Yadav entered the UP assembly - as a socialist and now I am joining the Socialist Party,” he said as he paid the primary membership fee to the SP chief.

The 72-year-old leader, who had announced that he would join the SP about two months ago as he was disenchanted with the BJP for not making him the state party chief, however, said it had nothing to do with his joining the new party.

He said the SP and Mr Yadav had never compromised on their principle of maintaining equidistance from both the BJP and the Congress.

On his unhappiness with the BJP, he quipped: “What was there in the BJP which it could have offered?

Earlier in the day, Mr Bangarappa, accompanied by Mr Yadav, called on Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee and submitted his resignation from the Lok Sabha seat. As soon as the Lok Sabha resumed business, Mr Chattarjee announced that he had received a resignation letter from Mr Bangarappa. “His resignation has been accepted,” the Speaker said. Immediately, non-NDA parties welcomed the announcement with thumping of their desks.

At the press conference held at the SP office here, Mr Yadav welcomed Mr Bangarappa to the party fold and said the latter had been appointed President of the Karnataka SP.

Speaking to Deccan Herald later, Mr Bangarappa said a convention of the State SP would be held at Bangalore’s Palace Grounds on March 25. Many SP leaders, including Mr Yadav, Mr Singh, Ms Jaya Prada and Rajya Sabha MP Jaya Bachan would attend.

Asked why he did not want to rejoin the Congress, Mr Bangarappa replied, “I did not want to go back to that ‘dirty’ party. I never aspired for power. During my entire career, it was only for a short period of time that I was in power. If I wanted, I could have continued as an MP. But then, I did not want to go against my conscience. Keep watching, I will come back to the Lok Sabha from Shimoga.

Mr Bangarappa claimed that many BJP legislators were with him but added that he had asked them to continue in the party till the next elections. Still, some Hosdurga and Shimoga MLAs of the BJP may attend the Bangalore convention, he added.

Mr Bangarappa had been in and out of Congress. An MLA from 1967 till 1996 winning successive elections from Sorab, he first left Congress in 1983 to form Kranti Ranga. He merged it with the Janata Party soon but as he was not made the chief minister, left it to rejoin the Congress.

He became chief minister in 1990 but was removed two years later. Soon, he formed his own Karnataka Congress Party (KCP) and was responsible for the rout of Congress and reducing its strength to an all-time low of 36 seats in the 224-strong Assembly in 1994. In 1996, he became MP from KCP. He lost the next LS elections and re-entered Congress. He became MP again in 1999. In 2004, he quit Congress to join BJP and was again responsible for the poor show of Congress party.

‘Not surprised’ says BJP

Meanwhile, senior BJP leader and leader of the Opposition in the Legislative Assembly B S Yediyurappa said the resignation of Mr Bangarappa from the Lok Sabha, will have no effect on the party.

When he joined the BJP last year, we welcomed him with open arms, and when he resigned today, we wish him luck”, he told reporters in Bangalore and added that the resignation came as no surprise to the party. “We were anticipating it for sometime now”, he said.

Asked whether any of BJP legislators had resigned, Mr Yediyurappa replied in the negative. “If one or two of his close associates follow suit, we will not be surprised”, he said.

See online : Deccan herald

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