M A I N   N E W S

Bihar’s turf war shifts to Union Cabinet
T.R. Ramachandran
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, March 8
A turf war is looming large in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Cabinet amid hopes that a realignment of political forces in Bihar brought under President’s rule yesterday will lessen its impact.

The problem essentially stems from the bitter rivalry between RJD chief and Union Railway Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav and LJP leader and Union Steel Minister Ram Vilas Paswan in their backyard of Bihar where the fractured verdict has necessitated keeping the newly constituted assembly in suspended animation.

Though senior Congress leaders caught in the political gamesmanship of Mr Laloo Prasad and Mr Paswan insist that tempers will cool down in due course paving the way for the installation of a secular government in Bihar, the prevailing ground reality in the state points to a more complex situation.

Congress leaders are banking on the interregnum provided by the imposition of President’s rule to help in resolving the impasse and narrow down the differences between Mr Laloo Prasad and Mr Paswan so that serious cracks do not develop in the UPA government at the Centre.

After meeting Congress President Sonia Gandhi yesterday, Mr Paswan met Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil here today and impressed upon him that the advisers being appointed should be persons of proven merit and not someone either close to him or to Mr Laloo Prasad.

Even as suggestions are flying thick and fast between the LJP and the JD (U) on the proposed contours of a new government in Bihar, the NDA’s chief ministerial candidate Nitish Kumar today rejected Mr Paswan’s suggestion that the JD (U) severe its links with the BJP. In a counter proposal, Mr Kumar urged Mr Paswan to respect the anti-RJD verdict in providing an alternative.

Mr Kumar and his party colleague Sharad Yadav observed that “we have four Muslim MLAs. Is it for Mr Paswan to decide what the JD (U) should do including who should be its chief ministerial candidate, they asked. It will be better if Mr Paswan first comes out of the UPA,” they said.

Further, Mr Kumar and Mr Yadav stressed that it was incumbent on the LJP to ensure the formation of an alternative government in Bihar of anti-Laloo Prasad forces.”

In this context they charged Mr Paswan with being primarily responsible for the imposition of President’s rule in Bihar leaving the Constitutional head of the state with no other option. Further, its limited purpose was to end the RJD misrule for 15 years.

The BJP has given expression to similar sentiments in Patna. The party’s general secretary Arun Jaitley who is incharge of Bihar maintained that the “arithmetic of impossibility” will continue till Mr Paswan continues in the UPA.

Mr Jaitley said the chief ministerial issue can be sorted out once Mr Paswan’s bids adieu to the UPA.

Compelled to recommend the imposition of President’s rule in Bihar as no combination could rummage the magic figure of 122 for a simple majority in the 243-member assembly, Governor Buta Singh has also desired that the choice of advisers should be such that the administration is put back on the rails. 

HOME PAGE | Punjab | Haryana | Jammu & Kashmir | Himachal Pradesh | Regional Briefs | Nation | Opinions |
| Business | Sports | World | Mailbag | Chandigarh | Ludhiana | Delhi |
| Calendar | Weather | Archive | Subscribe | Suggestion | E-mail |