Thursday, July 11, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Mamata, Laloo warn of stirs
PM-Advani meeting on railway split unlikely today

New Delhi, July 10
As the controversy over the bifurcation of Eastern Railway rages on, a crucial meeting between Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and his deputy L.K. Advani to discuss the issue is unlikely to take place tomorrow.

Mr Vajpayee is also not expected to meet an all-party delegation from Bihar which wanted to ensure that the Centre’s decision to split the Eastern Railway and create a Hajipur-based East Central Zone were not rolled back, PMO sources said.

They said the Prime Minister wanted to signal being even-handed as he had not met a joint delegation of Congress and Left parties from West Bengal yesterday which had held discussions with Mr Advani on the matter.

Earlier, RJD supremo Laloo Prasad Yadav told reporters in Patna that he spoke to Mr Vajpayee over the telephone today and Mr Vajpayee had agreed to meet the delegation of MLAs from Bihar.

Notwithstanding the uncertainty over tomorrow’s meeting between Mr Vajpayee and Mr Advani on the bifurcation issue, key players in the dispute Trinamool Congress (TC) and parties cutting across the political spectrum in Bihar upped their ante and threatened an agitation to ram in their respective views.

Ms Mamata Banerjee, TC chief, told a rally in Kolkata that her party would launch an agitation if tomorrow’s meeting between Mr Vajpayee and Advani did not decide to stall the bifurcation of Eastern Railway and rescind notifications issued recently by Mr Nitish Kumar for the creation of new railway zones.

On the other hand, Mr Yadav warned against any move to withdraw the bifurcation decision and threatened to launch street agitations if the bifurcation move was shelved. PTI

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