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Miffed with UPA, LJP threatens to fight LS polls alone

Source: PTI
March 07, 2009 22:59 IST
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Apparently angry over the delay in finalisation of seats among United Progressive Alliance allies in Bihar, Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan on Saturday stepped up pressure on the Rashtriya Janata Dal, threatening to go it alone if an alliance does not happen soon.

"I have directed my party workers to be ready to contest on all 40 seats in Bihar as the alliance talks do not appear to have fructified till now," said Paswan.

"I cannot wait for a long time. After all, we have to fight the elections," Paswan said, indicating his anger at the delay in forming of an alliance between Congress, RJD and LJP in the state.

Paswan's threat came at a time when RJD chief Lalu Prasad has called a parliamentary party meeting on Sunday instead of talking to the state's LJP President Pashupati Kumar Paras on seat sharing.

"He could have held his party's meeting earlier also. What was the need to do it now when a formal alliance talk is to happen between him and Paras," Paswan said.

A senior party leader from Bihar also said that unless there is 'respectable adjustment', the only option left before the LJP is to go it alone on all the seats.

"So far, nothing positive about an alliance with UPA allies appears to have worked out," the leader said. RJD, being the major alliance partner in the state, has 22 members in the Lok Sabha from Bihar and can influence the alliance's decision.

Sources in the RJD said that the party is in no mood to yield to 'unreasonable demands' of the LJP.

RJD had contested on 26 out of the 40 seats in Bihar in the previous general elections, while LJP fought on eight seats and the Congress on four seats. This time, LJP has demanded 16 seats while Congress is also asking for more than 10 seats in the state.

Repeating his demand for 16 seats, Paswan said, "We will contest 16 seats if an alliance happens or we will fight on all 40 seats there. I will not wait for many days."

Senior Congress leader Sushil Kumar Shinde had met Paswan and Prasad on Thursday to prevail upon them the need to finalise the seats among UPA partners soon in Bihar.

Shinde had earlier said the previous formula of seat sharing in the 2004 Lok Sabha election 'will have to change' this time, a contention which was strongly backed by Paswan. However, Prasad remained non-committal to it, saying, "let them bring it to me first. I will see what changes they have made."

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