The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Missing plaque ammo for Hajipur battle

Patna, Oct. 7: Ram Vilas Paswan’s loyalists have finally got even: they have wiped Nitish Kumar’s name off the face of East-Central Railway’s spanking new Hajipur headquarters.

Cut up because Kumar allegedly stole their leader’s thunder --- the Hajipur project was conceived when Paswan was rail minister but Kumar got it cleared by the Centre and inaugurated the premises on October 1 --- suspected Paswan supporters have pinched a marble plaque with the rail minister’s name inscribed on it.

The plaque, saying that Kumar had laid the foundation stone of the building, was found missing on Sunday morning, sources at East-Central Railway said. Nowhere did it mention Paswan’s name nor acknowledge the project as his brainchild.

Close to the spot from where the plaque went missing, a slogan was found scribbled in Hindi: “Ramvilas ka naam nahin, to koi nahin (If not Ram Vilas’ name, then nobody’s name).” This has led authorities to suspect that Paswan’s men could be involved.

The incident has raised temperatures between the rivals. Paswan’s camp has been agitating over attempts by Kumar’s loyalists to control the East-Central Railway administration and quietly shift some departments to Patna.

Paswan today took the fight to Kumar’s lair, announcing that he would hold a massive rally in Barh --- the rail minister’s constituency --- tomorrow. His loyalists have already begun mobilising support for the rally, at which Paswan plans “to unmask Mr Nitish Kumar politically”.

Kumar’s supporters have condemned the plaque theft as “an uncivilised move to malign a minister”. The office of the Hajipur acting chief PRO, A.K. Chandra, confirmed that the plaque had been stolen and would be replaced soon.

Sources in Paswan’s camp in Hajipur said the plaque was removed in retaliation to East-Central Railway’s move to wipe off Paswan’s name from the Hajipur complex though he first laid its foundation stone.

A spokesman of Paswan, who was informed about the theft, said Hajipur locals could be angry over the alleged attempt by Kumar’s Samata Party to insult Paswan. The Lok Janshakti Party leader had recently spoken of Kumar’s “ugly political designs” and said he had cancelled the jobs of 137 Dalits who Paswan had recruited.

in Hajipur. Paswan had then warned that the people of Hajipur would never tolerate this.

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