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Lalu vs Nitish, all over again

Lalu Prasad Yadav and Nitish Kumar seem to be engaged in a game of one-upmanship, reports Anirban Guha Roy.

india Updated: May 20, 2006 03:00 IST

Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar seem to be engaged in a game of one-upmanship.

While Nitish Kumar's decision to hand over the Rajdhani accident probe to the CID is seen as an attempt to embarrass Lalu, the RJD leader hit back on Friday, blaming the state government for the deteriorating law and order on trains passing through Bihar.

At a meeting with senior officials of the East Central Railway, Lalu said, "I have asked railway officials to beef up security in the zone. But maintaining law and order in trains is a state subject. But the state government is not doing enough." Most trains, especially the ones that passing through various ECR divisions at night are not escorted by the police. "Policemen have been sent for the panchayat elections," he said.

Sources said the railway minister directed officials to co-ordinate with the state railway police and demand additional policemen on trains. During the last two months, over a dozen train dacoities had taken places in various divisions of the ECR.

On Wednesday night, a bomb was detected in the Ganga Damodar Express and dacoits struck on the Patna-bound Kochi Express near Bakhtiarpur.

Lalu refused to comment on the Rajdhani Express controversy. "I do not want to speak on what I said or what L.K. Advani said or others said about the accident then," he said.

But Lalu had more in store for Nitish. "The violence in the panchayat polls has not only given an indication of the failure of the Nitish Kumar government to maintaining law and order but has also put a question mark on the polls. We will give him (Nitish) some more time," he said.

First Published: May 20, 2006 03:00 IST