Wednesday, November 29, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Paswan launches Janshakti
Tribune News Service

NEW DELHI, Nov 28 — Launching his political outfit, Janshakti, Mr Ram Vilas Paswan today made an attempt to consolidate his traditional support base of Dalits and sought support of all sections, specially minorities, for his party.

Harping on the legacy of Dr B.R. Ambedkar, Mr Paswan reminded of his efforts to install the leader’s portrait in Parliament House in 1990.

Urging his supporters to carry forward the torch lit by Dr Ambedkar, Mr Paswan said they should reach out to people themselves and not depend on other groups for support.

Making a special mention of Muslims, Mr Paswan said that India had a secular legacy of several centuries which was shared by all people of the country.

Maintaining that he should have launched his party 10 years ago, Mr Paswan regretted that the political space had been occupied mainly by the Bahujan Samaj Party.

Mr Paswan was strident in his criticism of JD (U) President Sharad Yadav, accusing him of being ineffective in making the party vibrant. Recounting how he had said no to the Prime Minister’s offer of being the Chief Minister of Bihar after the Assembly poll, Mr Paswan said he had finally favoured Mr Nitish Kumar for the post.

The Janshakti leader said he was prevented from floating his own party before the Lok Sabha elections by Mr George Fernandes and others on the assurance that Mr Yadav would be replaced after elections. “But this did not happen. And when the Bihar Assembly elections came, the results were no match to the Lok Sabha results when Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav’s RJD was decisively defeated,” he said. Vowing to fight Mr Laloo, he claimed that poeple of the state were feeling demoralised.

Apart from the three MPs supporting Mr Paswan, nearly 15 MLAs from UP and Bihar and some UP ministers were present on the dias.

Pointing to the agenda of his new party, Mr Paswan said that population-control would be given a lot of emphasis. He said children would be given uniform education, women 33 per cent quota in legislatures and Panchayati Raj institutions would be empowered.

Mr Paswan said he was seeking suggestions from experts to evolve policies that would translate the dream of “garib raj” into reality.

Describing the rally as historic, Mr Paswan said the enthusiasm was even more than the 1977 victory rally when he was elected to the Lok Sabha with a record margin. Supporters of Mr Paswan, mainly workers of the Dalit Sena, had come from all parts of the country for the rally.

Asserting that he was a man of soil, Mr Paswan reminded the gathering of his regular interaction with “coolies” and his effort to get telephones for telecom employees.

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