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Tuesday, February 27, 2001

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Laloo occupies a new Chair

By K. Balchand

PATNA, FEB. 26. Even for a man like Mr. Laloo Prasad Yadav, who started his parliamentary life almost two and half decades ago, rising to be one of the most powerful political personalities in the country, there are still uncovered territories and small desires to cherish. He fulfilled one of them today.

Donning a new role, Mr. Yadav, accused of being the de jure Chief Minister of the State, presided over the proceedings of the Bihar Assembly for the first time in his life. It was also the first time that he took a seat of authority after over three and half years since he resigned as Chief Minister.

It surely was an occasion to which even the opposition parties were looking forward. They welcomed him with the thumping of desks. ``How pleasant! Your wife, Ms. Rabri Devi, is the Chief Minister and now you are presiding over this august House,'' was how Mr. Bhola Prasad Singh (BJP) greeted Mr. Yadav.

Rabri absent

But Ms. Rabri Devi was not there to witness her husband presiding over the House when the discussion on the motion of thanks to the Governor's address was under way. The Leader of the Opposition, Mr. Shushil Kumar Modi, for once had something sweet to say to Mr. Yadav, recalling that the most mischievous boy got to become the monitor of his class so that discipline could be maintained.

Mr. Yadav took this in his stride and said he was thankful to the Speaker and the members for allowing him an opportunity to preside over the House. ``I never sat on this chair before, so I have to thank you all.''

Mr. Yadav seemed to enjoy the new responsibility, but the positioning of the chair was not quite to his liking. He time and again exchanged views with officials assisting him. ``The chair should have been somewhat more close to the podium, don't you think,'' he wondered. On another occasion, when he found jotting his notes inconvenient, Mr. Yadav turned to the same official to wonder if the seat should not have been a bit more elevated.

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