Haribhau Admits welfare of his caste was behind his switching sides

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Mumbai, Aug 5 (UNI) Expelled BJP MP from Yavatmal district in Maharashtra, Haribhau Rathod, who defied the party whip on July 22 during the trust vote and remained absent, today said his ill-health and welfare of his caste were the reasons for him to switch sides.

Speaking to reporters here, Mr Rathod said he was unwell during the trust vote but had full confidence in the Congress-led UPA government, which has promised reservation for tribes in the country.

''I was unwell and hence could not vote. I would have voted in UPA government's favour,'' said Mr Rathod.

''The UPA government has promised the implementation of the Bal Krishna Redke report and I have full confidence in the UPA government,'' he remarked.

''If the government had fallen, the 15 crore people belonging to the various castes would have been affected and I doubt that the BJP government would implement the report if it came to power.'' Mr Rathod said he along with BJP MLA Eknath Shendge met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on July 3, when he was promised the implementation of the report.

Thanking BJP General secretary Gopinath Munde for all his support to him, Mr Rathod said he was still ready to do anything for Munde.

Mr Rathod said the period of two days after the trust vote was very tense for him as he had to face flak and allegations of accepting money from UPA and the Samajwadi party to vote for the government or remain absent.

Refuting the allegations, Mr Rathod said that he did not know SP general secretary Amar Singh.

The Parliamentarian said there was immense pressure from his party and it was difficult to defy the whip.

''I have been sacked from BJP and will join some other party soon but I am still ready to contest the next Lok Sabha elections on a BJP ticket if possible,'' said Mr Rathod.

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