Raut, Dhawalikar dropped


While election notification is expected any moment, Bharatiya Janata Party chief minister Manohar Parrikar today dropped one minister and another corporation chairman, belonging to the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party.

Transport minister Pandurang Raut and Sudin Dhawalikar, chairman of the Economic Development Corporation, were the only two former MGP legislators supporting the BJP government, making it sort-of-a ruling coalition.

At a hurriedly called press conference, Parrikar admitted that both of them were dropped as they did not agree to join the BJP in spite of repeated requests but remained firm on contesting as the MGP men.

Interestingly, Parrikar's action came soon after Raut filed an affidavit in the high court today morning that the cabinet had formally not decided on 27 February to dissolve the Assembly while most of the cabinet members had opposed the 'proposal' put forward by Parrikar at a cabinet meeting.

The high court is presently hearing five different petitions filed by the Congress and the MGP functionaries, challenging House dissolution as well as lifting funds from the contingency without presenting the budget. Raut and other ministers were told to file affidavits in this regard.

Following Assembly dissolution, Raut is the second minister to be dropped, following dropping of Sanjay Bandekar, one among the 11 who had split from the Congress to form the BJP government in October 2000. Jose Philip D'Souza, another minister and ex-Congressman, had resigned and gone soon after dissolution.

The BJP, in an unprecedented manner, had long ago made a public appeal to both the MGP legislators to join the saffron brigade. As they had not responded, local party chief Laxmikant Parsekar had recently made a demand to drop them from the government.

"He used us to form his government and betrayed by dissolving the Assembly without taking us into confidence", alleged Raut. His colleague Dhawalikar has now vowed to expose sinister designs of the BJP during the poll campaign.

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