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Poll pact has many fuming

Within hours of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) head Ram Vilas Paswan working out their pre-poll pact for the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar, a number of ticket aspirants of both parties whose hopes had been dashed rebelled against their joint decision. Anirban Guha Roy reports.

india Updated: Mar 18, 2009 01:23 IST
Anirban Guha Roy

Within hours of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad and Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) head Ram Vilas Paswan working out their pre-poll pact for the 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar, a number of ticket aspirants of both parties whose hopes had been dashed rebelled against their joint decision.

As for the third ally, the Congress, which had been allotted just three of the seats, its Bihar leaders were almost apoplectic with rage.

Lalu Prasad’s own brother-in-law, Anirudh Prasad alias Sadhu Yadav, once very close to him but now estranged, sitting MP from Gopalganj who was denied renomination, called the deal ‘a suicidal step’ for the RJD and a ‘sellout’ to the LJP.

Gopalganj is among the seats the RJD handed to the LJP under the agreement. National award winning film director Prakash Jha, who contested and lost the West Champaran seat in the last Lok Sabha poll, is the LJP’s candidate from here.

Sadhu asked: “Who is Lalu to deny me?” He added that he would definitely re-contest from the same seat “hopefully on a Congress ticket.”

Similar sentiments were expressed by former RJD ministers Ramai Ram, Rajesh Singh, Rama Devi and Captain Jai Narain Nishad, all of whom have been denied tickets.

Lalu Prasad, however, remained unperturbed. “We will expel members if they contest in defiance of party discipline, no matter who they are,” he said.

Revolt was brewing in the LJP with prominent Muslim leader and Rajya Sabha Shabbir Ali threatening to quit the party unless Paswan gave adequate representation to Muslims in the seats allotted to him in North Bihar.

Meanwhile, the Congress, marginalized by the pre-poll pact between the two parties, was actively considering breaking away altogether and contesting all the 40 Bihar seats on its own.

With inputs from Rai Atul Krishna