M A I N   N E W S

Presidentís rule likely in Bihar
T.R. Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 6
Presidentís rule being clamped in Bihar for the eighth time appeared certain with Governor Buta Singh recommending the same as neither the UPA or the NDA is in a position to chalk up the simple majority of 122 in the 243-member Assembly.

On receipt of the Governorís fax this afternoon, Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil briefed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson and Congress president Sonia Gandhi about the developments. Nevertheless, the Manmohan Singh Government was awaiting a detailed report from Mr Buta Singh about the deadlock in government formation in Patna.

The issue of bringing Bihar under Central rule assumes importance as the term of the present Assembly expires tomorrow even as a last ditch attempt is being made to bring round union minister and LJP supremo Ram Vilas Paswan who has played the spoiler in a secular combination forming the government in Patna.

Mr Paswan has, however, stressed that a spell of Presidentís rule in Bihar might be good and provide the necessary breathing space to work out some other permutation-combination for taking over the reigns of power minus the RJD and BJP which have been rejected by the people.

Even though he insisted that he has remained steadfast in his approach of keeping both the RJD and the BJP out of the government in Bihar, hopes have not died out about Mr Paswan resorting to tactical change soon.

At the same time, a distraught RJD is crying hoarse that it is for the Congress, particular Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi pressurise Mr Paswan as he cannot be riding two boats simultaneously ó being a Union minister and oppose the RJD in his home state of Bihar.

While BJP president and former Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani has welcomed this move, JD (U) leader and Chief Ministerial aspirant Nitish Kumar virtually pleaded with Mr Paswan for the first time to change his intransigent approach as there is no third front other than the NDA or the UPA which can aim for power in Bihar.

Mr Kumar expressed apprehensions about Presidentís rule in Bihar to the extent that it amounted to extending the RJD rule in the state through the backdoor especially as advisors of Mr Lalu Prasad Yadavís choice will be sent to the state. At the same time Presidentís rule was the only option available at this juncture.

He regretted that the cherished desire of providing a clean administration in Bihar will remain a pipe dream as long as there is Presidentís rule in the state. Therefore, the NDA will strive in installing a popular government as early as possible to remove the scourge of a state being steeped in darkness.

Mr Kumar stressed that if Bihar has to be saved then Mr Paswan must give up his ďcontradictory standĒ of being a minister in the UPA government at the Centre and pursuing an anti-RJD posture in the backward state.

BJP general secretary Arun Jaitley, who is incharge of Bihar, noted that if Mr Paswan was really keen on keeping the RJD out of power in Bihar, then he should bid adieu to the UPA and help forming a popular government in Bihar.

Evidently, the BJP-led NDA is waiting for signals from Mr Paswan and willing to extend support from outside.

BJPís Bihar leader Sushil Modi voiced similar sentiments in Patna saying let Mr Paswan first come forward with his proposal and ďwe will definitely consider it.Ē

On the other hand, CPI-Mís Harkishen Singh Surjeet believes that considering the fractured verdict in Bihar, the only way out is to hold fresh assembly elections in the state.

Presidentís rule in Bihar has not been for any extended period so far. It was way back in 1968 that the state was first brought under Central rule and the seventh time was in 1999. 


Bihar House dissolved

Patna, March 6
Bihar Governor Buta Singh today dissolved the outgoing 12th state Assembly hours after recommending imposition of Presidentís rule.

A press note issued by the state Public Relations Department said the Governor dissolved the outgoing House in exercise of power vested in him under Article 174 (2) Sub-Section ĎAí of the Constitution. ó PTIBack


JD(U) blames it on Paswan

New Delhi, March 6
Accusing LJP leader Ram Vilas Paswan of pushing Bihar towards President's rule, the NDA today apprehended that the RJD would continue to rule the state indirectly as it was an important ally of the UPA at the Centre.

"A canard is being spread that the JD(U) is the villain of the piece for pushing the state towards President's rule. But in fact, it is because of Mr Paswan, who wants to remain a minister at the Centre and continue his anti-RJD posture in Bihar," senior JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar said.

He was talking to reporters after an hour-long meeting at the residence of the party's Parliamentary Board chairman Sharad Yadav, where Arun Jaitley, BJP General Secretary and in charge of Bihar, was also present.

Mr Kumar said the "cherished desire" to provide a clean administration in Bihar would remain a "day-dream" so long as there was President's Rule in the state and added the NDA would try to ensure that a popular government was installed in the state as early as possible.

Asserting that the elections were held for installing a popular government in Bihar, Mr Kumar said the imposition of President's rule in the state was the only option in the present scenario. "It is unfortunate," he said.

The JD(U) leader said though the poll gave a fractured verdict, the mandate was clearly against the RJD.

"By ensuring imposition of President's rule in Bihar, Mr Paswan may be happy, but his happiness will prove to be shortlived as we will try to have a popular government," he said.

Mr Kumar said since Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav was a minister at the Centre, he would rule the state indirectly by ensuring that advisors of his choice were sent to the state.

In such a situation, the state would not be able to have a clean administration and Bihar would continue to be "steeped in darkness".

Mr Kumar said if Bihar has to be saved from the mess, Mr Paswan should give up his "contradictory stand" of remaining a minister at the Centre and at the same time keep up his anti-RJD posture in the state.

He dismissed as a "blame game" allegations that it was the JD(U) which queered the pitch for government formation in Bihar saying that even if his party extended support, the numbers were still not enough for a simple majority.

"Such allegations are part of a sinister campaign to malign us. It is a well calculated conspiracy," he said and urged Mr Paswan to give up his "dual stand" instead of trying to "hoodwink" the people of Bihar.

Mr Jaitley said if Mr Paswan was really keen on keeping the RJD out of power in Bihar, he should come out of the UPA and help form a popular government in the state. óPTIBack

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