Khalap resigns, but CM declines

SANDESH PRABHUDESAI, PANAJI | 01 May 2002 21:54 IST

Former union law minister Ramakant Khalap, who was in the BJP cabinet in Goa, resigned as a minister today since the saffron brigade has rejected him party ticket in the forthcoming Assembly elections.

While not accepting his resignation, chief minister Manohar Parrikar has referred it to union minister Pramod Mahajan, who has been handling Khalap's issue.

"I do not want to cause embarrassment to the party when I cannot contest from my traditional Mandrem constituency", Khalap told this reporter, before leaving for Delhi. He is expected to meet Mahajan there.

The local party had referred Khalap's matter to Mahajan, who had reportedly offered him post of a governor of Jharkhand or as an Indian ambassador in any country.

The issue had arisen as local party president Laxmikant Parsekar is keen on contesting from Mandrem. Khalap, as the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party candidate, had defeated the former in last Assembly polls held in June 1999.

Khalap had however later defected to the Congress along with another MGP colleague of his, to defect once again to the BJP. Since then, he was the minister in the Parrikar government.

Though party has offered him ticket from the neighbouring Pernem constituency, Khalap learnt to have rejected all these offers, including being posted the governor or the ambassador.

Rather than quitting the saffron brigade like at least two of his colleagues who have also been denied tickets, Khalap is still negotiating with the party leadership. His workers however claim that the silver-haired veteran politician can win even as an independent.

Parrikar however does not agree that they are scared of the adverse impact of Khalap's popularity if he quits the BJP. It is a fact that his humiliation by the BJP has created lot of sympathy wave in his favour throughout the state.

"He is a seniormost among all of us and we value him as a person", claims Parrikar.


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