Resignation of Bangarappa

Bangarappa did a good job as Chief Minister. Ashraya, a Housing Scheme for the poor and Vishwa, a Scheme to help Rural Artisans, became very popular. He was very close to me and he used to seek my advice on certain issues. I used to guide him and warn him whenever he was doing something wrong. Bangarappa was a man of his own thinking. He never used to listen to anybody. Soon he was muddled with allegations of corruption. Everyday newspapers used to carry news about corruption in the Bangarappa Government. Rumours of his house, Commercial Complexes were appearing in news papers. It became very difficult for Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao to defend Bangarappa.

One day, Rao called me and said, "I am fed up of reading news about corruption in Bangarappa Government. It is bringing bad name to Congress. You are very close to him. You tell him to resign. I will accommodate him in the Central Cabinet. We will make him CM again after the situation settles."

What Rao told me had logic. Bangarappa's name was spoiled. I met Bangarappa and passed on Rao's message. Bangarappa got angry. "No. I will not resign. See what I do to that Brahmin," Bangarappa started in his usual style. 'There is no point in talking like this. Try to understand why he is asking you to resign. Is there no truth in what he (Rao) is saying?" I asked. But he was not ready to listen. "Let us see what will happen," he said.

After few days Rao asked me if I have passed on his message to Bangarappa. "I have already spoken to him Sir, but he is not ready to resign,"' I said. ''Then you ask him to resign in writing. Write a letter to him in your name. Your direction means it is Party's direction. You are in charge of Parliamentary Board and Working Committee of the Party," Rao told me. By then, Bangarappa had earned the confidence of all MLAs. I summoned him to Delhi. "As a brother, I am telling you. Party has asked me to serve Notice to you. It doesn't look nice. Tender your resignation immediately," I told him. "No. I can't. I will think over it after going to Bengaluru,"he said. I did not serve him Notice.

After Bangarappa left for Bengaluru, Rao came to me and said, "He (Bangarappa) should resign tonight by 7 pm. Otherwise, I have kept para-military force ready. He will be arrested on corruption charges. He should resign immediately," Rao ordered. I called Bangarappa over phone and informed him about the seriousness of the situation. "Everything is ready. You will be arrested by evening," I told him. Para-military force was really kept ready. Senior Congress leaders Mallikarjun Kharge, Kagodu Thimmappa were all in favour of Bangarappa. They also faced the threat of losing their Ministership. They all convinced Bangarappa to resign. Five minutes before 7 pm, I got a call from Bangarappa. "I will step down," he said. He resigned at sharp 7 pm. Narasimha Rao had the last laugh.

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