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Paswan's move will not affect NDA: Nitish Kumar

By Our Special Correspondent

PATNA, FEB. 22. The Railway Minister and senior Janata Dal(U) leader, Nitish Kumar, today claimed that the Lok Janshakti Party chief, Ram Vilas Paswan, joining hands with the Congress and the Rashtriya Janata Dal, would not cause any problem to the National Democratic Alliance, but would be faced with a tough situation to explain his conduct.

Reacting to Mr. Paswan's decision, Mr. Kumar said that it would not have any impact on the NDA in Bihar as he had already parted company with the NDA and the JD(U).

Moreover, the polarisation was in favour of or against Laloo Prasad Yadav, the Rashtriya Janata Dal chief, and hence, he claimed, it would not make much of a difference on the poll outcome.

The Railway Minister contended that Mr. Paswan had invited a headache for himself as he had been projecting himself as the protagonist of the anti-Laloo camp. He would have to explain as to why he had compromised on his principles.

He admitted that he and other NDA leaders had talked to him in a bid to woo him back, which, he maintained, was based on the signals that they had received from him.

"We didn't want to give the impression that we had forced him to cross the fence".

Mr. Kumar claimed that the situation was more favourable now than in 1999 stressing that there was an undercurrent against the RJD.

He, however, declined to join the debate on the imposition of President's rule, saying that he had already played his role on this count and that the effort had failed in 1998. "The people would react in their own way during the polls," he said.

Mr. Kumar, replying to a question, said that he would be the happiest person if Mr. Paswan's strategy were aimed at cornering him.

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