New Delhi, May 9: Railway minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal president Laloo Prasad Yadav has renewed his demand for resignations of election commissioners B.B. Tandon and N. Gopalaswamy but made it clear he will not knock on the governmentís door for this.
'I am still demanding and suggesting to Tandon and Gopalaswamy, you please resign, please leave your posts. But I am not going to approach the law minister or the Prime Minister,' he said.
Speaking to reporters in his office in Parliament, Laloo Prasad said the issues, as he saw them, were the letter written by L.V. Saptharishi to law minister H.R. Bhardwaj and the 'derogatory' remarks about a 'certain community' attributed by the official to Tandon and Gopalaswamy.
Laloo Prasad denied that the issue came up in his meeting with Congress president Sonia Gandhi today.
'Saptharishi (he kept calling him Satpathy) was part and parcel of the Election Commission (during the 2004 Lok Sabha polls). As a lay man, I understand that the full bench of the commission vested powers in him to function as the election observer. He was not only in charge of Chhapra but several other constituencies along with six other IAS officials. But at the time of the election, he was camping in Chhapra,' the railway minister said.
'The BJP smelt the defeat of Rajiv Pratap Rudy (who was its candidate against Laloo Prasad). They started creating something to get the election countermanded. After all, Rudy is the BJPís lovely boy. Of course, he was my lovely boy when he was in my party.'
Laloo Prasad maintained that he met Saptharishi only once during the elections and stressed his objective was not to run down the Election Commission.
'I am not making allegations against the election commissioners. But when I read Saptharishiís letter after it was printed in a newspaper, I thought what injustice has been done to me,' he said.
'With due respect to the Election Commission, I believe it is important to maintain the institutionís dignity. The institution is supreme and not individuals. But if an individual talks on lines of politics and caste, the institution will be finished.'
Laloo Prasad denied that a 'quid pro quo' was involved between Saptharishi and the rural development minister, Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, who is from the RJD.
'The BJP is the sardar (head) organisation for spreading lies and rumours. He (Saptharishi) wrote the letter now because he thought it was the right time when Tandon was about to become the CEC (Chief Election Commissioner),' claimed Laloo Prasad.