The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Fortunes swing in night of suspense
- Dream to dust for unlucky thirteen

Ghatshila, May 23: The mood changed as the night slipped into another day.

For the 13 rebel MLAs huddled inside the farmhouse in Barajuri, a secluded hamlet 10 km from here, hope gave way to despair when news trickled in after midnight that the Centre would recommend dissolution of the Bihar Assembly.

About two hours later, their fears came true ' the Centre, they got confirmed news, had recommended dissolving the House.

As they brooded over what lay ahead, the tension that had been building up inside turned to anger. Denied a stage where they could have played the role they had been rehearsing in their minds, the Lok Janshakti Party rebels lashed out at party president Ram Vilas Paswan, Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Laloo Prasad Yadav and Bihar governor Buta Singh.

“Paswan, Yadav and Singh were lambasted by these legislators. Some even said how they were forced to sell their land and other properties to mobilise money to fight the elections,” a farmhouse employee recounted.

“Paswan, Yadav and Singh have ruined us,” the employee quoted some of them as telling each other.

One MLA even wondered whether they had been too hasty. “We should have waited some more time before taking any decision to side with the NDA,” he said.

If the rebels were tense, the farmhouse staff had a trying time to keep them happy. “We were told that 15 of them would be staying. But when they arrived, the number was about 40, which included their personal staff and bodyguards,” said an employee.

The VIPs complained of poor facilities at the farmhouse compared to that at 10th Mile Stone, a resort where they had stayed for more than a day after their journey to Jharkhand.

“Some of these MLAs boasted to us that they are habituated to staying in five-star hotels. A few of them even wanted to go away but were dissuaded by the others,” said an employee.

The MLAs were, apparently, annoyed by the frequent power cuts and mosquito bites. They were also unhappy with the farmhouse’s location ' the area is Naxalite infested. Some even raised security concerns despite the presence of over 60 policemen.

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