» Election » Will support Manmohan for PM, says Lalu

Will support Manmohan for PM, says Lalu

By Onkar Singh in New Delhi
March 22, 2009 16:44 IST
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Union railway minister and president of the Rashtriya Janata Dal, Lalu Prasad Yadav made it clear that he would do everything within his power to ensure that Dr Manmohan Singh continues to remain the prime minister of India and Mrs Sonia Gandhi heads the United Progressive Alliance. He was addressing a press conference in New Delhi before leaving for Patna to campaign for his party.

In a new turn in their tussle, RJD chief declared his party's intention to field its candidates against the Congress in three seats held by it in Bihar and accused it of trying to "finish" regional parties.

Blowing hot and cold against the Congress, Lalu likened Congress' aim of contesting 37 seats in Bihar to build their organisation as "digging a well when one's house is on fire".

Arguing that Congress alone is not UPA, he told media persons "if the name UPA remains it is good, otherwise some other name can be adopted and some other front will be formed."

In reply to questions, he said there is no plan to ally with the Third front. "We are part and parcel of UPA, its my responsibility to keep the UPA intact and I am ready to make any sacrifice for it."

Carrying his fight with Congress which has announced that it will contest 37 of the 40 seats in Bihar, including giving tickets to his estranged brother-in-law Sadhu Yadav, he said RJD will field candidates in Aurangabad, Sasaram and Madhubani -- the three seats held by Congress now.

"Every political party has right to expand its base. Let Congress party also make an effort. If they had talked to us then we would have given them another two seats but they did not do so," Lalu said.

He refused to answer any personal questions either about Rahul Gandhi or Mrs Sonia Gandhi.

Talking about the alleged communal speech given by Bharatiya Janta Party leader Varun Gandhi in Pilibhit,  Lalu said if he had an opportunity he would have put Gandhi behind bars for making disparaging remarks against Muslim brothers.

Lalu also blamed BJP for trying to communalise India Premier League's decision to take the tournament out of India. "The situation did not allow holding the tournament in India because of dates of election schedule and IPL," Lalu said.

Additional Reportage: PTI

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Onkar Singh in New Delhi