Laloo roadshow a big draw in Guwahati
Laloo Prasad Yadav's was meant to be a goodwill visit. He ended up conquering hearts, even those of the anti-Bihari hardliners.Updated: Nov 26, 2003 20:46 IST
Laloo Prasad Yadav's was meant to be a goodwill visit. He ended up conquering hearts, even those of the anti-Bihari hardliners.
The RJD chief's day in the state capital had all his trademark showmanship. For instance, on his way to the Circuit House from chief minister Tarun Gogoi's official residence, he stopped the motorcade at three busy intersections.
He stepped out of his car to talk to Biharis on the streets. After summoning the people, Yadav asked, "Haal theek hain na?" Someone from the crowd answered: "Kya theek hai, saab. Dar to rahta hai."
"Ab hum aagaye hain, darne ki hoi baat nahin," the RJD chief assured. He said the state government and police were taking action to stop the atrocities on Biharis.
Laloo Yadav also won over the leaders of All Assam Students Union, which had raised objections to Bihari candidates appearing for railway jobs here. "Hum bhi shanti chahte hai, aur AASU waale bhi," he offered. Hence, no scope for conflict.
On the Centre's refrain that the ISI was behind the Assam violence, he said: "Arre NDA walon ko to har cheez mein ISI aur Pakistan nazar aata hai. Aisa hi hai to tum nikamme log kyoon baithe ho wahan."
Asked if he was keen on mediating with the Ulfa — any dignitary visiting Assam expresses this desire — Laloo Yadav was his pithy self: "Arrey, hum aapse batiyane aaye hain, Ulfa walfa ko lalten (the RJD symbol) lekar dhoondenge kya?"
Laloo, however, saved his best for Gogoi when the latter offered him rice and mashed potatoes for lunch. "Yeh aloo bhi to Bihar se hi aata hai".
Meanwhile, Prime Minister A.B. Vajpayee said on Monday that sufficient security forces would be sent to Assam to help the state government tackle violence against Biharis.
Vajpayee gave this assurance during a 15-minute meeting with Laloo Yadav.
Senior Congress leaders Manmohan Singh and Shivraj Patil also met Vajpayee and urged him to send additional forces to Assam to help end the violence.
First Published: Nov 26, 2003 00:00 IST