The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bihar bite for ‘brahmacharis’

New Delhi, Feb. 25: Laloo Prasad Yadav kept the Opposition benches in splits as he ripped into the BJP and its policies while intervening today in the Rajya Sabha debate on the Presidential address.

In his 20-minute speech, the Rashtriya Janata Dal chief accused the A.B. Vajpayee government of misleading both President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam and his predecessor K.R. Narayanan on the NDA’s achievements and aims.

The BJP, Laloo Prasad said, had come to power on the slogan of removing fear, hunger and corruption, but failed to live up to its promise.

The same party had called him “chara chor (fodder thief)”, Laloo Prasad said, referring to the fodder scam. “But in this government (the BJP-led Centre), we not only heard but also saw people take money and count the notes,” he said, pointing to the Tehelka expose.

The RJD chief then spoke of “Coffingate”, a controversy where the Centre allegedly imported coffins during the Kargil war at an exorbitant price. “Despite the evidence, George Fernandes was brought back as defence minister,” Laloo Prasad said. “The only politician who lost his job was the only Dalit president of the BJP, Bangaru Laxman.”

Laloo Prasad then raised the demolition of the Babri Masjid. He demanded to know why no action had been taken against deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani, one of the accused in the case.

Picking on the VHP’s dharma sansad, which he dubbed a conclave of “fake brahmacharis”, he said: “In our village, anyone who does not get married is called a brahmachari.

His next target was Ramjanmabhoomi Nyas convener Ramchandradas Paramhans. “Hearing his tone and accent, I knew he was a Bihari. So I took the trouble to find out about him. When I went into his past, I found he was a historysheeter,” Laloo Prasad said.

The treasury benches were deserted, with a lone Arun Jaitley sitting in front. The BJP’s S.S. Ahluwalia, once a part of the Congress’ “shouting brigade”, tried to outshout Laloo Prasad but failed.

Resignation walkout

The Opposition today demanded the resignation of Advani and other senior BJP leaders facing trial in the Babri case. Opposition MPs, led by Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, walked out of the Lok Sabha, expressing dissatisfaction over the response of the law minster to their demand.

Opposition members in the Rajya Sabha followed suit.

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