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Lalu blames Congress managers for break-up of alliance, says will help form UPA govt
Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Lalu Prasad today held Congress managers for the break-up of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) in Bihar but maintained that Congress President Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh were in no way responsible for the split.
He claimed his party, in partnership with Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) would sweep the polls in Bihar and declared that they would do everything possible to ensure that the UPA returned to power after the coming Lok Sabha elections.
"Sonia Gandhi ji is nowhere at fault. The honourable Manmohan Singhji is nowhere at fault. There are many munshis, managers, different people who sit in the pipeline, to become Governor, looking for positions. These are people who keep sitting around in Delhi. They live in Ranchi, but will fight elections in Karachi. These are people in Delhi who say when elections come, take seats from Lalu. I am not going to roll up my carpet," Mr Prasad told NDTV in an interview.
The Railway Minister was answering a question about who was to be blamed for the break-up of the alliance in Bihar on the question of sharing of seats.
"My advice to the Congress is that its people should continue to sleep comfortably...UPA government will be formed, and whoever the Congress and Soniaji says to me, we will make that person (the Prime Minister) only," he said.
The RJD and the LJP have divided 37 of the 40 seats in Bihar between themselves, leaving only three constituencies for the Congress, which wanted ten seats. The Congress rejected the formula outright and has decided to contest 37 seats in the state on its own. In the 2004 elections, the Congress had contested four seats and won three. The Congress candidates in Bihar include Mr Prasad's brother, Sadhu Yadav, who has joined it after leaving the RJD.
Mr Prasad said he had been willing to concede one more seat to the Congress.
"But by increasing the number of seats and getting them to lose, that is not the politics I want to practice. This is the situation in Bihar. It was the call of the time for Ram Vilas Paswan's party and RJD (to come together). Our unity would let us sweep all of Bihar," he said.
He denied suggestions that the secular vote in Bihar would be split and said if the Congress party really had a base in the state, as they claimed, he would have given them more seats.
Mr Prasad said people were really saddened by the break-up of the alliance but asserted he and Mr Paswan were not to at fault. "I was prepared to give one more seat...to give four. I even said, ask Paswanji for one more seat," he said.
"No one says anything, no one talks or communicates, and then they quarrel and say Lalu cheated us. I don't cheat people. I am the sort of person who walks straight. I will do what I say. We will make the UPA government and run it. We are for Soniaji, all our lives, as long as we live," he added.