The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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CM blames rout on Lalu

Calcutta, Nov. 26: Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, whose party was part of the Lalu Prasad-led alliance in Bihar, today blamed 'misrule' for the election debacle.

'RJD chief Lalu Prasad himself is responsible for his downfall. He lost public support because of misrule in Bihar. A large section of people did not vote for his party as they had grievances against RJD rule,' the chief minister told a gathering of CPM functionaries at Jadavpur stadium.

'We don't feel that Nitish Kumar's victory is indicative of the BJP gaining ground in Bihar. Instead, Lalu Prasad is a victim of a strong anti-incumbency wave.'

Lalu Prasad's Rashtriya Janata Dal was voted out after 15 years in power and Nitish Kumar took over as chief minister on Thursday.

Echoing Bhattacharjee, former chief minister Jyoti Basu said: 'Lalu lost the elections for his own misdeeds. There was no rule of law in Bihar during the Lalu-Rabri regime and the election results are a simple reflection of that lawlessness.'

This is the first time that two key politburo members of the CPM have publicly attacked ally RJD for 'misrule'.

Basu said the results would have been different had all the secular forces come together under one umbrella to fight the 'communal forces'.

'It is unfortunate that while the CPM and the Congress backed the RJD, the CPI and other Left forces tied up with Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janashakti Party. If the Left parties, the Congress and Paswan's party were on the same boat, then the Janata Dal (United)-BJP alliance would not have come to power,' he said.

Bhattacharjee agreed with this. 'It is a matter of great concern that a communal force has taken over the reins in the neighbouring state,' he said.

Turning to his own government, which will face an election a few months from now, Bhattacharjee said he had stressed on health and education besides industrialisation.

'We have to improve the quality of primary education and to make the Sarba Siksha Abhijan a success. There is no denying that thousands of children are to be provided elementary education,' Bhattacharjee said.

The chief minister said a lot of schemes are on the cards to improve the health care services across Bengal. 'We have to construct a few more medical colleges and vocational training colleges to keep pace with the changing time,' he added.

According to him, the Centre has of late imposed a condition on setting up private medical colleges, that is, if the private party leaves midway after setting up such colleges, the government will have to take the responsibility.

'This is absurd. How can the government take responsibility of a private medical college',' he asked, 'We have instead told the Centre, if this condition stands, then the private party must deposit a lump sum amount to the government before starting the construction of a medical college'.

Speaking on divestment, the chief minister said the state government has decided to sell off the PSU units which are loss-making and cannot be made profitable by the government. 'It is not the duty of the government to run hotels, news papers or factories,' he further said.


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