Lalu calls up Pranab Mukherjee, says still in UPA
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Lalu calls up Pranab Mukherjee, says still in UPA

After telling an election rally in Samastipur that RJD chief Lalu Prasad had “lost the respect of the Congress”, senior Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee said in Howrah late on Tuesday that Lalu Prasad called him up and clarified he had not left the United Progressive Alliance.

india Updated: Apr 22, 2009 09:31 IST

Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Lalu Prasad on Tuesday called up Congress leader Pranab Mukherjee and clarified that he had not left the United Progressive Alliance, Mukherjee said at an election meeting in Howrah.

Lalu's telephone call to the External Affairs Minister came hours after the two engaged in verbal fisticuffs while addressing election meetings.

Mukherjee said at a rally in Bihar's Samastipur that the RJD leader had "treated the Congress like a doormat" and it had become "difficult to keep him as an ally".

Mukherjee had also said in the rally that there was a question mark over whether Lalu would be in the government after the Lok Sabha polls.

The RJD chief had responded by saying "time will tell who is with whom".

Mukherjee had taken umbrage to Lalu going against the Congress projection of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh as the UPA candidate for the top job and saying that the alliance partners will decide on their choice after the polls.

However, Mukherjee said Tuesday night that Lalu had told him that he would be with the Congress in forming a government at the centre.

"Lalu has called me up and said 'I have not left UPA, I am very much in the UPA and we will again form a government'," Mukherjee said.

First Published: Apr 22, 2009 08:09 IST