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Lalu gag order on alliance

Patna, Jan. 15: The RJD chief, Lalu Prasad, today issued a gag order to his party men on alliances for the Lok Sabha polls.

“The party has authorised me to talk to the like-minded parties. But I have found some RJD leaders making statements on alliances. They should desist from this practice. The subject is being looked by me,” he told the RJD leaders at 10 Circular Road, where he organised a feast on the occasion of Makar Sankranti.

The gag order comes against the backdrop of the strained relationship between the RJD and the LJP following statements from some RJD leaders, including former Union minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, on seat-sharing. The statement that only “winnable” candidates of the LJP should be given tickets because the LJP failed to win in a single seat despite fielding candidates in 12 Lok Sabha constituencies in 2009 had hurt the sentiment of LJP chief Ram Vilas Paswan.

He has been sulking since then and the other LJP leaders have been refusing to commit themselves on continuation of the alliance with the RJD. There have even been talks of a possible alliance between LJP and JD(U).

Paswan recently met AICC chief Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi and talked to her about the electoral ties in Bihar. He told reporters that he had left the decision on an alliance in Bihar with the Congress.

Lalu, who is fighting a battle for survival, cannot afford to ignore the LJP chief because Paswan still influences a section of Dalits. He also made it clear today that he wants to bring all the secular parties on one platform to fight communal forces.

The RJD chief met both Sonia and Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi. “But the situation is still fluid. Although the first round of talks have been held, the alliance is yet to take a final shape,” said a senior RJD leader.

The possible RJD-Congress-LJP alliance is considered a formidable one by political pundits in Bihar.

The RJD chief used the occasion of feast to ask his leaders to prepare for the battle ahead and thank them for their unflinching support while he was in jail. “Blow the trumpet and be prepared for the battle ahead. I need the support of each and every section of the society. This time, go to the doors of the people to seek their votes. The chariot of Narendra Modi will be stopped in Bihar,” he said.

Lalu predicted that the Bihar poll battle would be between the RJD and the BJP. “Nitish Kumar is nowhere. He is like a wrestler without strength, who is doing push-ups. He will suffer the consequences for what he has done,” Lalu told his supporters.

He warned the RJD leaders not to crowd around him for tickets. “It is a waste of time,” he said.

Lalu also took a dig at his former ally Mulayam Singh Yadav. Recalling his visit to Muzaffarnagar camps, he said nothing had been done for the communal violence victims.

He recalled the love showered on him by his followers during his stay in Ranchi. “We shall form governments in both the states (Bihar and Jharkhand),” he told his cheering supporters.