The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Flood sinks Laloo poll plan

New Delhi, Aug. 10: Floods appear to have washed away Laloo Prasad Yadav’s hopes of early polls in Bihar, but turmoil in the enemy camp has given him cause for cheer.

Elections to the 243-member Assembly are due next February, but Laloo Prasad was planning to hold them in September-October this year, when polls are due in Maharashtra.

With eight Rashtriya Janata Dal ministers in the Union council and he, himself, presenting a “good” railway budget, Laloo Prasad never had it so good.

Moreover, the Opposition BJP-Janata Dal (United) combine in the state is yet to recover from the shock of the general elections while the ally Congress is still grappling with revival plans.

But the deluge, the worst in 17 years, which has already taken a toll of over 600 lives, has put paid to his early-polls plan.

RJD sources said the fury of the flood will ebb only by September and it would take at least another month to complete rehabilitation operations and repair damaged roads and tracks. By that time, the festive season of Dusshera and Diwali would set in. Next up would be Chhat, Bihar’s biggest festival.

So, it seems, the poll process can begin only according to the original schedule. Forced to delay the polls, Laloo Prasad is trying to make the most of the time to accrue electoral benefits.

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