Sunday, March 12, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Rabri sworn in Bihar CM
Given 10 days to prove majority

PATNA, March 11 (UNI) — Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) Legislature Party leader Rabri Devi was sworn in as Chief Minister of Bihar today, a day after the Nitish Kumar-led NDA government in the state bowed out of office failing to muster the requisite numbers.

Governor Vinod Chandra Pande, who administered the oath of office to the 30th Chief Minister of the state, gave Mrs Rabri Devi 10 days to prove majority on the floor of the 325-member House. The RJD, with 124 legislators in the new House, has the support of the Congress and the CPM besides some other parties and Independents.

Mrs Rabri Devi took the oath after the Governor, earlier in the day, invited her to form the government.

Senior RJD and Congress leaders were present at the swearing-in ceremony. Leaders of the NDA boycotted the ceremony at Raj Bhavan. However, Mr Anand Mohan Singh, leader of the Bihar People’s Party, an NDA constituent, attended the function.

Perturbed over the Congress stance, NDA leader Nitish Kumar announced an agitation programme in association with the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha and other supporting parties. “We will observe March 13 as ‘betrayal day’, he said.

“That would be the first phase of the agitation, to be followed by joint rallies and district-level dharnas and demonstrations,” he said after a meeting of the NDA, attended by representatives of supporting parties and some independent legislators, here.

The new Chief Minister said her ministry would be a coalition in which all supporting parties would be given representation. “Talks are under way with the Congress, BSP and other like-minded parties. The Cabinet is soon going to be sworn in,” she told mediapersons after the swearing-in ceremony.

Meanwhile, a report from Delhi said the Congress Working Committee (CWC) tonight failed to decide on the party’s participation in the RJD government in Bihar and would meet again on Monday to discuss the crucial issue.

“We had a general discussion on the issue of participation in the RJD government headed by Mrs Rabri Devi but have not taken any decision,” party spokesman Ajit Jogi told reporters here after a two-hour meeting of the CWC.


Nine killed in Bihar blast

GARWAH, March 11 (PTI) — Eight jawans were among nine persons killed in a landmine blast at Bardiha village in Naxalite-dominated Garwah district of south Bihar today.

The police said the landmine was detonated near the Chorhatia hillock when a police party was heading towards the village to conduct a raid following a tip off that some Naxalites were hiding there. Besides eight jawans of the Bihar military police, the driver of the vehicle was also killed in the incident.

District Superintendent of Police Baldeo Prasad said involvement of any Naxalite outfit in the blast had not yet been established, but there was every possibility of the outlawed People’s War Group being involved.

Mr Prasad said the entire area had been sealed and intensive search operations launched.

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