The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Laloo gives his model 'truth'

New Delhi, Dec. 24: Faced with the threat of his party being de-recognised, Laloo Prasad Yadav today met the chief election commissioner to explain why he distributed money to villagers near Patna after the polls in Bihar were announced.

An adviser to the election commissioner, K.J. Rao, who was sent to Bihar following charges that the RJD had misused government facilities for political purposes, also submitted his report today.

Election Commission sources said a decision will be taken 'over the next week or so'.

The Election Commission, in its showcause notice issued on Monday, had set a deadline of 3 pm today for the RJD chief and Union railway minister to present his case.

Laloo Prasad did not say what he told the chief election commissioner but he has earlier stressed that he never denied having given money to people who had come to attend a public meeting in Bihta.

'I have given my explanation in writing and I have told them the truth,' Laloo Prasad said after meeting chief election commissioner T.S. Krishnamurthy.

'The commission is of the opinion you, as president of the RJD, have violated the model code by distributing money to the electorate of Bihar as reported in the media,' the Election Commission notice to the RJD chief had said.

The notice, asking why he should not be charged with flouting the model code of conduct, alleged that Laloo Prasad had violated electoral laws under Section 171(b) of the Indian Penal Code.

The RJD chief had reacted just after the notice was issued in his inimitable way. 'Thank God, I have been shown distributing money and not taking money,' he had said on Monday. Television footage from last Saturday mentioned in the notice showed Laloo Prasad distributing currency notes of Rs 100.

Laloo Prasad today said that he had sought to assure the commission that his party was not challenging rules.

'We have always respected the commission. We have never bribed anyone.'

The minister also said he had re-stated a plea to the panel for a one-day poll in Bihar but the election commissioners had pointed out that it would have been possible had there been enough security forces.

He said he did not foresee any problem in presenting the railway budget because the elections will end on February 23.

Rao said he had put up a 'factual report' on the charge that the RJD was using the administration for a rally that was subsequently called off by Laloo Prasad.

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