Debating India

BIHAR

RJD, LJP lock horns for Rajya Sabha seat

Tuesday 28 March 2006, by BALCHAND*K.

RJD has 30 in its kitty and the LJP 18

PATNA: Railway Minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad on Monday renewed his old battle with his Cabinet colleague and Lok Janshakti Party president Ram Vilas Paswan thanks to the Rajya Sabha elections in which the two constituents of the UPA are locked in a tussle.

The RJD and the LJP are fighting it out for the sixth seat, with five seats assured: three to the JD (U) and one each to the BJP and the RJD.

In the race are LJP vice-president Ranjan Prasad Yadav, a former close aide of Mr. Prasad, and RJD’s Rajniti Prasad. The candidate who gets 35 votes will emerge the victor. The RJD has 30 in its kitty and the LJP 18.

At a press conference on Monday, Mr. Prasad said his party candidate would win by a huge margin. He would get through with the first preference votes without warranting the count of second preference votes on which the LJP candidate is banking upon.

He said he had contacted BSP chief Mayawati and his party was also in touch with leaders of secular parties. The BSP has four votes. He claimed the support of a majority of the 10 Independents.

Mr. Prasad took exception to the CPI and the CPI-ML’s support to the LJP, saying the latter’s candidature was sponsored by the BJP. The BJP alone had the surplus votes to spare its first preference votes, he pointed out.

The stand of the CPI, which has three members and the CPI-ML (five), he said, could blot their secular character, but hoped they would reconsider. He ruled out the possibility of his candidate being defeated and any of his party legislators cross-voting in favour of the LJP nominee. The RJD would issue a whip and openly ensure that each cast his vote in favour of the party nominee.

The RJD chief admitted that he had not contacted the Samajwadi Party for its two votes. He also denied any overtures to placate the LJP.

Hails Sonia’s "sacrifice"

Mr. Prasad hailed the sacrifice made by Congress president Sonia Gandhi and ruled out any possibility of a mid-term election. He said the UPA would complete its term. He denied knowledge of any legislation on the office-of-profit issue.

"They all should resign like Sonia Gandhi. That would mean the end of the road for the NDA Government in Jharkhand and in a couple of other States." He said the Arjun Munda Government in Jharkhand should go.

See online : The Hindu

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