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Laloo rival eyes rebels for takeoff

Patna, Oct. 26: Former RJD rebel Ranjan Yadav is confident of making a mark in state politics though his recent return to the political mainstream did not evoke much response.

He launched his Sampoorna Vikas Party here on October 20 in a bid to wean away former rebel friends from the Rashtriya Janata Dal.

Though none of his known supporters were present at the launch, Ranjan exuded confidence. “The ruling party MLAs are in touch with me. They will rally behind me at the appropriate time,” he said at his home in the Kadam Kuan locality.

“No one knows the pulse of the party better than me. But I will not use wartime political rhetoric to mute my development plank,” he added.

The former RJD vice-president was expelled early in 2001 after he led a batch of disgruntled ministers in a revolt against party chief Laloo Prasad Yadav and projected himself as an alternative. The immediate provocation for falling out with each other was Laloo Prasad’s refusal to take action against his supporters who attacked Ranjan at a rally.

A close associate of Ranjan said the leader will draw the classes and the masses with his unequivocal development agenda. “There isn’t any empty fireworks of promises and rhetoric. We are working quietly to accomplish the mission,” the aide said.

Laloo Prasad, however, was unimpressed. “He is like a mosquito. He will perish in his own Churi Gali (the lane where Ranjan has his house),” he said, reacting to the launch of the party.

“Without mass support, his development agenda would fade into the sunset,” another senior minister said.

Other than former MP Ramashray Prasad Singh, who was once with the CPI, no other leader was present at the launch, not even former finance minister Shankar Prasad Tekriwal of the RJD, a known Ranjan-backer.

If the former college teacher is worried over the absence of political heavyweights at the launch, he is not showing it. “We will maintain equidistance from both the NDA and the RJD,” Ranjan said, knowing his image among the people works on a strong emotional appeal for development.

He, however, has launched the party at a time when the state’s political climate is charged with the coming polls and the RJD is riven with dissension over several issues.

The corridors of power are echoing with silent resentment over chief minister Rabri Devi’s outburst against her colleagues and Laloo Prasad’s “injustice” to Siwan MP Mohammad Shahabuddin.

Nine days before Ranjan swung into action to launch his outfit, Rabri Devi had sparked a row in the RJD with her remark at a party convention: “Kahan se aate hain, kahan chale jate hain… Ek gari ke baad dusri gari kharid kar lete hain (Ministers and MLAs of humble origin reach such heights of affluence that they buy one car after another).”

A week earlier, senior state minister Gulam Sarvar had cried foul over the “injustice meted out to the Siwan MP”.

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