When Bangarappa tried to slap Indira Gandhi !
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When Bangarappa tried to slap Indira Gandhi !

Mangaluru: Former Union Minister and Veteran Congress leader B. Janardhana Poojary’s Autobiography titled ‘Saalamelada Sangrama’ was released here on Friday.

Poojary himself released the book at Kudroli Sri Gokarnanatheshwara Temple, which he developed over the years as a seat of devotion for the Billava community, which he belongs to.

A startling revelation Poojary has made in the book is about the reported attempt by Bangarappa to slap Indira Gandhi. While Bangarappa was made the KPCC President on his (Poojari’s) recommendation, R. Gundu Rao was made Poll Committee Chairman just before the 1980 Parliamentary poll. When Bangarappa became upset for having lost the opportunity to become the CM and threatened to quit the party, Poojary took him to Indira Gandhi, according to the book.

During the meeting, Bangarappa not only talked rudely to her, but also attempted to slap her, when he had to restrain him, Poojary writes in the book.

Detailing his political journey from 1977, when he was asked to contest the Lok Sabha polls on a Congress ticket from the then Mangaluru – Kodagu Constituency, the 80-year-old veteran Congress leader has revealed several behind the scene developments in Karnataka and in national politics since then.

A confidant of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and the late Rajiv Gandhi, Poojary writes that he declined the CM’s post at least four times, for the simple fact that he was naive in ‘collection.’ As a powerful functionary in the Congress for a very long time, he was able to promote several leaders, including Oscar Fernandes, M.Veerappa Moily, the late S. Bangarappa, M. Mallikarjun Kharge, the late N. Dharam Singh among others in the State.

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Referring to the holding of loan melas when he was a Union Minister, Poojary says the loan melas were inspired by Indira Gandhi’s statement that nationalisation of banks did not bring results as intended by her to help the poor. Loan melas, though criticised by many, actually empowered the poor, he claimed.

Poojary felt he still had regrets that his integrity had cost the life of his second son Madhukumar J. Poojary. Though Madhu was injured twice in road mishaps in New Delhi, he got him treated at Government hospital in line with his Principles. Unfortunately, Madhu developed cancerous tumour and passed away, he said.

The autobiography release event was attended by Ministers B. Ramanath Rai, who of late has been having strained relations with Poojary and U.T Khadar, RSS leader Kalladka Prabhakar Bhat, a few MLAs, MLCs, and other political leaders.

January 27, 2018

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