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Lalu for Rahul; Nitish backs Atal

Arch rivals Lalu Prasad and JD (U) leader Nitish Kumar apparently made some quick poll calculations today. In Lalu’s U.P. arithmetic, G-factor suddenly acquired a new meaning. His plea: Build Rahul Gandhi as future CM for UPA’s sake. For Nitish, the only choice for NDA at the Centre — A.B.Vajpayee. A little confusing, that. On Saturday, the former PM had made his choice clear: Lal Krishan Advani. Clear hai? You decide. Politicians do say and unsay things. Quite often. Here are Monday’s tidings:

Varanasi: On a trip to Uttar Pradesh which goes to assembly polls next year, RJD chief and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad today said Congress MP Rahul Gandhi should be projected as UPA’s chief ministerial candidate in the elections.

“He (Rahul Gandhi) should be certainly projected as the Chief Ministerial candidate as it will help UPA,” Prasad told reporters here in reply to a question.

The Railway Minister said Rahul’s active role in U.P. politics was expected to work in favour of Congress as the young leader had been trying to grasp the nuances of state politics for the past several years. He said RJD would work with Congress in throwing out the Samajwadi Party-led government from power in the state in next year’s assembly elections.

Lalu said his party would contest several seats in eastern U.P. And support Congress candidates in remaining assembly seats. — PTI

Patna: Throwing his weight behind BJP stalwart Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today said he is the “undisputed leader” and the most suitable prime ministerial candidate if the NDA returns to power.

Reacting to reports that BJP president Rajnath Singh and his predecessor were interested in the post, the JD(U) leader whose party is a prominent constituent of NDA said “no vacancy exists for the time being. In case of a vacancy, we will think about it and inform the media.” “Vajpayee is the undisputed leader of the NDA at the moment and there will be no vacancy for the post of prime minister in case the NDA returns to power at the Centre,” he told reporters at his residence.

Favouring reservation for socially and educationally backward Dalit Christians and Muslims, the chief minister said “The Centre is to take a decision in this regard.” — PTI



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