Bandekar quits BJP to join Cong

sandesh prabhudesai, panaji | 06 April 2002 13:29 IST

Former information minister Sanjay Bandekar, who was dropped from the Bharatiya Janata Party cabinet on Thursday, today quit the saffron brigade to join back the Congress, which he had left in October 2000.

While dropping from the cabinet after he dissolved the House one month ago, chief minister Manohar Parrikar had also indicated that he will not get the party ticket to contest the forthcoming assembly elections.

Goa PCC chief Nirmala Sawant however preferred to restrict herself from commenting on Bandekar's homecoming, stating that the decision on his readmission will be taken by the high command. "He has not approached us till now, but he is welcome to work as a well-wisher", she said.

Bandekar's supporters claim that the former minister will contest on a Congress ticket from his Canacona constituency. He was elected to the ninth Assembly in June 1999 from the same party, defeating his close rival from the BJP.

While talking to media persons today, Bandekar also threw a bombshell, disclosing that Parrikar had dissolved the House as eight of the BJP legislators - including himself - had decided to split on 3 March and topple his 16-month old government.

Fearing the split, Parrikar had however gone ahead with the dissolution on 27 February. The BJP government was formed in October 2000, when four Congressmen including Bandekar had split from the Congress. Quite a few who had split much earlier from the Congress had also joined the saffron brigade to form the BJP government.

Bandekar was the only minister who was away in Ladakh when the cabinet had formally decided to dissolve the 40-member House. He now describes Parrikar's decision as most undemocratic as 28 more months were left for the House to get its term expired.

The former minister however has not denied Parrikar's allegation that he was hobnobbing with the Congress for the last six months. Countering the CM's allegation that he was an inefficient minister, Bandekar however now claims that the toppling game was planned as Parrikar himself was found to be inefficient to run the state of affairs.


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