Minister Bandekar dropped, denied BJP ticket

sandesh prabhudesai, panaji | 04 April 2002 17:25 IST

Following one minister quitting the cabinet and the saffron party last month, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party dropped another minister today, on the eve of Assembly elections. The drama has begun after the House was prematurely dissolved on 27 February.

After dropping information minister Sanjay Bandekar, who had defected the Congress on 21 October 2000 along with three others to join the BJP government, chief minister Manohar Parrikar alleged the former had been hobnobbing with Congress leaders for the last six months.

"I was also not happy for almost eight months with his performance in the ministries of information as well as civil supplies", Parrikar told a hurriedly convened press conference in the evening. He describes Bandekar as a restless and irreparable case.

This was a third term of Bandekar as the minister, after becoming the minister in 1991 when he defected from the then Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party to join the Congress and then again as the Congress minister in 1994.

Though he somehow managed to retain his Canacona seat in 1999 polls, BJP candidate Vijay Pai Khot had posed a serious challenge before him. In order to push the latter as the candidate once again, it appears that Bandekar has now been denied the BJP ticket.

"I tried my level best to get him ticket, but failed miserably", said Parrikar, confirming that he will not get the BJP ticket. Bandekar, who was away in his constituency in the border taluka of South Goa, was however not available for comments.

His close associates however claim that Bandekar has already managed to get the Congress ticket through a Delhi businessman from Suri Group, who has set up a five star hotel in Canacona. The action of dropping him has thus not come as a surprise in his camp.

Unlike Bandekar and Jose Philip D'Souza, who quit the cabinet post and party on 3 March, the BJP has however already confirmed tickets to two one-time Congressmen defectors - industries minister Shaikh Hassan Haroon and housing minister Babu Azagaonkar, a dalit.

The sword of uncertainty of getting BJP tickets however still hangs on three more ministers including water resources minister Ramakant Khalap, former union law minister, who even airdashed the national capital last month to argue his case before the central BJP leaders.

Speculations are also on that Parrikar plans to drop transport minister Pandurang Raut, belonging to the MGP, along with his party colleague and Economic Development Corporation chairman Sudin Dhawalikar, who had supported the BJP government.


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