The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Paswan poetic puzzle

New Delhi, March 8: Ram Vilas Paswan today lived up to the epithet 'pendulum' that Laloo Prasad Yadav had sprung on him, swinging between the Janata Dal (United) and the United Progressive Alliance.

The Lok Janshakti Party leader, who met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and home minister Shivraj Patil today, hinted at a realignment of forces in the next month, but said he would wait for the situation to 'unfold' before taking a shot at government formation in Bihar.

'A month's time is enough for political realignments to take place in the state. After a month it can be seen who will go where.'

Paswan, criticised by both Laloo Prasad and the NDA for pushing Bihar to President's rule, waxed poetic and spoke of how the 'heart had splintered into a thousand pieces'.

'Some fell here, some there. I can say this because I have been in politics for 36 years,' he said.

While his words had a sliver of a suggestion that a 'socialist unity' was not out of the realm of possibility, the question was whether Paswan had Laloo Prasad or the Dal (U) in mind.

Laloo Prasad's sobriquet also provided grist to his verbal spat with the RJD chief. 'Laloo should know that without a pendulum the clock is dead,' Paswan said.

Paswan also renewed his appeal to the Dal (U) to part ways with the BJP. But Dal (U) leaders Sharad Yadav and Nitish Kumar responded with a firm no.

They said if Paswan was keen on a Muslim chief minister, he could merge his party with theirs and elect one of their four Muslim MLAs as leader. Paswan's riposte was: 'Nobody in his right senses can say this.'

With the stalemate persisting, the Congress today focused on Haryana and Kerala. Party chief Sonia Gandhi held a series of meetings with new Haryana chief minister B.S. Hooda and her political adviser Ahmed Patel to outline priorities for the former and see how another K. Karunakaran-inspired rebellion in Kerala could be nipped.

Laloo Prasad, his aura of invincibility gone, said he would not intervene in the appointment of advisers to governor Buta Singh.

The BJP ' which has given up on Bihar, at least for the time being ' attacked the central government and Sonia in Parliament.

An NDA delegation has got time from President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam for a meeting in which it is expected to request him to see that the date for the Jharkhand trust vote is further advanced.

Stepping up its offensive, BJP vice-president M.A. Naqvi posed 12 questions to the Prime Minister and Sonia. Among them were:

If the Centre claimed it was not involved in the 'unconstitutional' installation of Shibu Soren, what were central ministers P.R. Das Munshi and Subodh Kant Sahay doing in Ranchi'

If Sonia thought the governor's action was 'wrong', why did she not get Soren to resign'

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