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CVP merged with Cong, former Cong minister returns to party

Posted on Dec 06, 07:26PM | UNI

The Chhattisgarh Vikas Party (CVP), led by former Bharatiya Janata Party MP PR Khunte, today announced his party's merger with the Congress.

State Congress President Nand Kumar Patel and CVP President Mr Khunte -- a former BJP legislator from Palari in Chhattisgarh and two-time MP from Sarangarh (SC) in undivided Madhya Pradesh -- announced the merger at a joint press conference at the Congress Bhavan here.

Besides, former minister and tribal leader Manoj Mandavi, who was expelled from the Congress in 2003 for revolting against the organisation, was today taken back to the party.

Mr Mandavi, who made his debut in Madhya Pradesh Assembly after winning the 1998 election from Bhanupratapur constituency in Naxalism-affected Kanker District, became a Minister of State for Home in the Ajit Jogi Cabinet in 2000 when Chhattisgarh was carved out of Madhya Pradesh.

Following denial of Congress ticket, he contested both the 2003 and 2008 elections as an Independent to finish second on both the occasion behind the BJP candidate.

Claiming that the organisation would be further strengthened with the joining of the two leaders, Mr Patel said that both Mr Khute and Mr Mandavi expressed their desire to join the Congress along with their followers and the proposals were approved by Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

Mr Khunte, who switched over to the Congress during Ajit Jogi's tenure, constituted Chhattisgarh Vikas Party in 2005 aiming to provide a third alternative but the people rejected the party in the 2008 elections.

The former MP claimed that Chief Minister Raman Singh recently invited him for dinner in order to pave the way for his return to the BJP but he turned down the offer.