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M.B. Patil quits Congress

By Our Staff Correspondent

BIJAPUR, JAN. 25. The All-India Congress Committee (AICC) member and former MP, M.B. Patil, has resigned from the primary membership of the party.

Announcing this at a press conference here on Sunday, Mr. Patil said that he was forced to resign because of the suffocating atmosphere in the party. He had sent his resignation letter to the Congress President, Sonia Gandhi, the AICC General Secretary in-charge of party affairs in Karnataka, Vilasrao Deshmukh, and the President of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee, B. Janardhana Poojary.

Mr. Patil, who heads the BLDE Association that runs many educational institutions, is also a former MLA. He had won the Assembly byelection from the Tikota constituency. Though Mr. Patil did not comment on the alleged humiliation meted out to him during Ms. Gandhi's visit to Bijapur on Friday, one of his close aides said that it was one of the reasons that prompted him to quit the party. Some legislators from the district tried to keep him away from the dais. However, he was allowed to sit on the dais after Ms. Gandhi and the Chief Minister, S.M. Krishna, intervened in the matter.

Stating that he would not take back his resignation, Mr. Patil said that he had three options — to keep away from politics and concentrate on his educational institutions; continuing in politics independently; and joining a political party that suited his ideology.

To a query, he said that he had no grouse against the Congress leadership. But some of his colleagues in the party had been conspiring against him. He was fed up with their "cheap politics", he added.

Meanwhile, 12 councillors, including the President of the Bijapur City Municipal Council, Gajan Choudhary, and his deputy, Anwar Jamadar, resigned from the Congress after Mr. Patil announced that he had quit the party.

Sources said many zilla panchayat members, office-bearers of various committees of the party, and 11 members of the Bijapur Taluk Panchayat would resign from the party tomorrow.

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