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Lalu Prasad promises Nitish full cooperation

K. Balchand

People had been misled, says the RJD chief



ACCEPTS PEOPLE'S VERDICT: RJD chief Lalu Prasad talking to reporters in Patna on Tuesday. — Photo by: Ranjeet Kumar

PATNA: Rashtriya Janata Dal chief and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad on Tuesday conceded defeat and extended his greetings to Nitish Kumar, chief ministerial candidate of the National Democratic Alliance in Bihar.

Mr. Prasad told presspersons here that he respected the people's verdict in the Assembly elections. Victory and defeat were part of politics and did not matter much. "We will sit in the Opposition and shoulder our responsibility." He had sought a mandate, intending to benefit from the United Progressive Alliance Government at the Centre.

Mr. Prasad said his greetings were limited to Mr. Kumar and would not extend to the Bharatiya Janata Party. He promised Mr. Kumar full cooperation.

Won't blame Paswan

Mr. Prasad declined to comment on the Lok Jan Shakti Party chief and Cabinet colleague, Ram Vilas Paswan, and said he would not blame him for the defeat of the RJD-led combine.

The Railway Minister parried questions on the Election Commission and the role of the paramilitary forces, but alleged that the poor and minorities were driven away from booths and beaten up. Their names had been deleted from the voter list.

He said the former Union Minister, Jai Prakash Narain Yadav's brother Vijay Prakash, who lost from Jamui, was also assaulted. Mr. Prasad alleged that the forces which he had kept at bay misled the people and spread the rumour that he did not care for the State's development or its prosperity. Mr. Prasad said he hoped that Mr. Kumar would stand by his promise and set right law and order within three months and that none would migrate from the State for a living.

"The entire blame used to be put on us, be it law and order or development, and we were also accused of spreading casteism. The people will understand how they have been cheated in less than a month or two."

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