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Let posterity decide, Nitish defends Lalu cut

Nitish Kumar defended his decision to drop a chapter from school textbooks on Lalu Prasad, reports Hemendra Singh Bartwal.

india Updated: Jan 10, 2008 01:44 IST
New Delhi
New Delhi
Hindustan Times

Nitish Kumar defended his decision to drop a chapter from school textbooks on Lalu Prasad saying it should be left to posterity to judge whether he merited a place in the syllabus. The Bihar Chief Minister also had a bit of advice for his old adversary: Rise above such “small things”.

“There is no need to make a mention of living public figures in pages of history…He is still alive and his innings is not yet over. He has to achieve many things, like his ambition to hold the ‘lathi’ department (Home Ministry) and even the No 1 seat (prime ministership),”said Nitish.

A grin lit up the face of his colleague and JD(U) president Sharad Yadav, sitting beside him, who has often been the target of Lalu’s sharp wit.

The RJD boss has admitted on several occasions that at the time of cabinet formation in the UPA, he was very keen on becoming the Home Minister. Besides, his party leaders have also been projecting him as a future Prime Minister.

The Nitish Kumar government’s decision to remove the chapter will no doubt please another person — Ram Vilas Paswan, Lalu’s cabinet colleague and arch adversary in Bihar politics.

Nitish, however, claimed the decision was his but the state HRD department’s. “I did not even know about the decision and was informed about it only later. But since it is controversial in nature, it is being ascribed to me.”

The RJD attacked the NDA on the issue alleging that it was following the BJP’s saffron agenda of excluding “charismatic secular personalities” from history books. “It is unfortunate that young impressionable students will be deprived of an opportunity to learn about the contributions of great secular leaders like Lalu Prasad,” said RJD spokesman Shakeel Ahmed Khan.