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I have been singled out because I am a fighter, says Lalu Prasad

Saturday 30 April 2005, by VYAS*Neena

`Deletion of the names of saffron outfits is the agenda’

NEW DELHI: Railway Minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Lalu Prasad has charged that the ongoing "boycott" of Parliament by the National Democratic Alliance had a single-point agenda - deletion of the names of Sangh Parivar organisations such as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Bajrang Dal he mentioned in the House as having been involved in the attack on him at the Vadodara Hospital on April 21.

Speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Prasad pointed to the record of the April 26 proceedings during which the former Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and Bharatiya Janata Party deputy leader V.K. Malhotra repeatedly demanded the deletion of the names of the RSS affiliates.

The Speaker said the names of "individuals" were already deleted and what Mr. Prasad had said was "not unparliamentary ... He is entitled to say what he is saying... we have done what the rule book says." But that did not pacify the BJP members.

Mr. Vajpayee repeatedly said: "The names have not been taken out and the names of organisations named have not been deleted. I appeal to you to delete the names of those organisations."

Mr. Prasad alleged that the RSS organisations were involved in a criminal assault on a Union Minister, that an inquiry was taking place and that the BJP was afraid that evidence would be found, against the Sangh and the Modi Government, of what happened in Vadodara.

"Several television channels had televised the footage of that day’s incident, what the BJP distributed was a censored version," he said.

`BJP MP a witness’

He said the BJP MP from Vadodara, Jayaben Thakkar, was with him that day and witness to all that had happened. "I know she is a religious lady. Let her stand with "tulsi" leaves in her hand in the Ganges and relate what happened that day. She was in the car with me when the rear windscreen was smashed."

He said that but for the presence of Ms. Thakkar - "and I ensured that I kept close to her" - he could have been killed that day.

Those who were targeting him with stones and "slabs of ice used in mortuaries" could not target him for fear of hurting Ms. Thakkar. Throughout the violent attack, the police did nothing, said Mr. Prasad.

The RSS and the BJP had singled him out for attack because "it was their assessment that this man was a fighter, he will not give an inch, and will remain firm in his political fight against the Sangh ideology."

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