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Disillusioned Bangarappa back to his `socialist roots’

Friday 11 March 2005, by JAYARAM*A.

BANGALORE, MARCH 10. Though for public consumption, State Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders have been saying that the resignation of the MP for Shimoga, S. Bangarappa, will have little impact on the party in the State, there is a section of opinion in the party that says that he should have been retained in the BJP and treated better.

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The former Chief Minister, S. Bangarappa, who resigned from the Lok Sabha on Thursday and joined the Samajwadi Party, with the Samajwadi Party General Secretary, Amar Singh (right), at Parliament House in New Delhi. - PTI

On the other hand, it has also proved once more the point that the former Chief Minister (1992-94) is a veteran party-hopper. He has changed his political loyalties ten times. The former socialist is joining a party with a name which is a translation of the word socialist - the Samajwadi Party. It is, thus, a sort of homecoming for Mr. Bangarappa about three decades after he quit the Socialist Party.

Promise not kept

The view is that having admitted him into the BJP, he should have been given the treatment due to a former Chief Minister. A party leader even conceded that an assurance had been held out to Mr. Bangarappa that he would be elected President of the State unit of the party. The promise was not kept, and Jagadish Shettar was anointed State party chief.

It is stated that some of the State BJP leaders were instrumental in bringing Mr. Bangarappa into the Party, and the national leadership was not enthusiastic about it. Despite the misgivings of even the former Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee and the all-India party President, L.K. Advani, who was at that time the Union Home Minister, some State leaders admitted him.

It is noted that in the first few months after his joining the BJP, Mr. Bangarappa had supported the party line on almost all issues. He had even supported the Hindutva line of the party.

It is also conceded in private by party leaders that Mr. Bangarappa’s entry had garnered for it the votes of backward classes at least in some of the Lok Sabha and Assembly constituencies.


However, it is also being said that Mr. Bangarappa benefited from joining the BJP. His election from Shimoga is attributed to the strong base the party has established in the district.

Mr. Bangarappa’s exit from the party falls into the pattern of the disillusionment that overtook seasoned leaders of various parties who joined it since the 1994 Assembly elections. Almost all of them came to realise that they could not carry their seniority in the Congress or other parties into the BJP. It is amusing that the BJP is tolerating the presence of the Rajya Sabha MP and former Congress leader, M. Rajasekhara Murthy. He remains only a member of the BJP parliamentary party, but out of the party for all practical purposes. He openly shared the dais with the Janata Dal (Secular) leadership before the 2004 elections. The other political leaders who joined and quit the BJP include the former Law Minister L.G. Havanur, the former MP H.N. Nanje Gowda, the former Union Minister Taradevi Siddhartha, the former Yuvaraja of Mysore, Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar, and the former Raitha Sangha leader and Union Minister, Babagouda Patil.

It should be seen what the Congress leader and former BJP MP for Shimoga, Ayanur Manjunath, will do now as he had quit the BJP even as Mr. Bangarappa entered it. Mr. Manjunath, who lost to Mr. Bangarappa in last year’s Lok Sabha elections, first joined the Janata Party and then crossed over to the Congress. Mr. Manjunath is a hardcore BJP man from the RSS stables.


It should also be seen as to what impact the exit of Mr. Bangarappa will have on the 79-member BJP group in the Assembly. Party sources say that at the most they expect only two members to quit the party and the membership of the Assembly. They are identified as Narayanappa, elected from Hosanagar, and Gopalakrishna Hosur, elected from Sagar. Both of them belong to Mr. Bangarappa’s Idiga caste and have been elected from Shimoga district.

Some say that Mr. Bangarappa has entered the unknown. The Samajwadi Party he has joined has no base in Karnataka and he has to build it from scratch. There is also the view that he will not seek re-election to the Lok Sabha but will contest the Assembly election from Hosanagar after persuading the incumbent MLA to resign. His calculation appears to be that the coalition Government will not last long, and he will be in a position to dictate terms in a new scheme of things.

The parties Mr. Bangarappa has served in and quit in his 45-year career in politics are Socialist Party, Karnataka Krantikari Paksha (the first party floated by him), Congress, Karnataka Kranti Ranga, Janata Party, re-entry into Congress, Karnataka Congress Party (which he founded), Karnataka Vikas Party (another of his creations), re-entry into Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party and now Samajwadi Party.

See online : The Hindu

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