The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘Shadow’ salvo at Laloo

Patna, Sept. 1: RJD rebel leader Shivanand Tiwari fired one more salvo against Laloo Prasad Yadav last evening, intensifying the war of nerves between him and his party chief.

“I do not depend on the mercy of Laloo Prasad Yadav to win polls. So I don’t have to worry,” Tiwari asserted during the inauguration of a halt station at Bihia near Buxar named after his father.

The Ramanand Tiwari station was inaugurated by Samata Party leader and railway minister Nitish Kumar in the presence of former Union health minister C.P. Thakur.

The naming of the halt station has pitted Tiwari, once called the “shadow” of the RJD chief, against Dadan Pahalwan, who wanted a halt inaugurated just a km away and named Sarvada Halt. This proposal was, however, struck down by the railway minister.

Pahalwan’s supporters had squatted on the railway tracks yesterday in protest, delaying train services. Tiwari believes that Pahalwan may have been instigated by Laloo Yadav and peppered his speech at the inauguration with innuendoes against the RJD chief.

Tiwari said the RJD chief’s work for the backward castes should not evoke surprise as he belonged to one. “But being a Brahmin, if I raise the issue of the welfare of the backward castes and Dalits, it is something extraordinary as I am thinking beyond my caste,” said the excise minister in the Rabri Devi cabinet.

In June, Tiwari, a RJD spokesman, had fought a war of words with Pahalwan, the commercial tax minister, over his loyalties to Laloo Yadav. Pahalwan accused Tiwari of feeding the media with reports of car thefts from showrooms on the eve of the marriage of the RJD chief’s second daughter, Rohini. Exasperated over the antics of the wrestler turned MLA who is close to the chief minister, Tiwari had shot off a strongly-worded letter to Laloo Yadav thinking that Pahalwan was let loose on him by the party chief.

However, Tiwari today clarified that he would remain in the RJD. “It will be a different matter if Laloo Yadav expels me from the party,” he said. “Earlier also I had told Laloo Yadav that if there is any problem in the party over me I would walk out quietly,” he added.

Tiwari had joined the RJD on the eve of the 1999 parliamentary elections, parting company with Nitish Kumar’s Samata Party. But his recent closeness to Kumar has caused speculation about his next move.

“He is trying to instigate Laloo Prasad Yadav to expel him so that he gets sympathy and to dispel the notion that he is a turncoat,” said a senior minister in the Rabri Devi cabinet.

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