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|August 21, 1999||
Anant Nag to quit politics
M D Riti in Bangalore
"I am just waiting for another fortnight to officially announce my retirement from politics," a disgusted Anant Nag told rediff.com, minutes after the closure of nominations for the Karnataka assembly election. "At that time, I shall tell you more about all that I have seen, heard and felt during my innings with the Janata Dal."
Karnataka's information and technology minister just had his nomination papers rejected by Jayamma, the returning officer for the Basavanagudi constituency, where he had filed his papers. Nag, who was recently made Janata Dal general secretary by Sharad Yadav, was known until last year as a confidante of Ramakrishna Hegde. However, he did not leave the Dal with Hegde, but stayed back with Chief Minister J H Patel.
This, he now believes, is the reason for his being done in by Hegde and state Lok Shakti president Jeevraj Alva. "They were unhappy I stayed back with Mr Patel, and took the opportunity to make a sneak attack on me now," he says.
Party sources indicate that Nag was made a minister at Hegde's behest, although he was a first time MLA. After the last assembly poll, there were two distinct factions within the state Dal, namely the ones led by former prime minister H D Deve Gowda and by Hegde. Nag and his brother Shankar, who was killed in a road accident almost a decade ago, were close to Hegde and Alva. So was J H Patel.
The Nag brothers have been with the Janata Dal since its existence. They were among its star campaigners, and Anant carried on this tradition after Shankar's tragic death. After losing a parliamentary election, Anant got the JD ticket for the Malleswaram constituency, the area in which he lived and is known, in 1994. He won by a good margin.
He became a minister a couple of years later, when Deve Gowda moved to Delhi as prime minister and Patel became chief minister. He was then given the urban development portfolio. After Hegde's exit, he became close to Patel, and came in for criticism for accompanying the chief minister on his tours more than called for by his portfolio.
Nag says on Wednesday that he was asked not to file his nomination papers for Malleswaram, and submit them instead for Basavanagudi, another Bangalore constituency, for his party, the Janata Dal (United). He was also given a B form at that time. After he filed his papers, Sriganesh of Hegde's Lok Shakti party also filed his papers for the same constituency. However, returning officer Jayamma says Sriganesh's B form says clearly that the one to Nag stands cancelled.
A shocked Nag rushed to meet state JD president C Byre Gowda to find out what had happened. Byre Gowda told him on that morning, he had given Lok Shakti leaders 10 blank B forms, at their request, just before he left town. One of those forms may have been used to scuttle Nag's candidature.
"There is no mix up," says a disgusted Nag. "It is a clear case of treachery by two top leaders." He refuses to be drawn into naming them, but it is obvious who he is referring to. On the subject of Hegde's possible role in this drama, he told rediff: "I have nothing specific to say about him."
His party tried to mollify him by offering him the options of contesting for Parliament, either from Hassan or Mandya. But Nag would have none of it. He will probably return to films instead, after having paved the way by acting in his first film Vishwa, a remake of Sunny Deol's Ghayal, after a two year absence. Vishwa is scheduled for release any day now.
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