New Delhi: Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo Lalu Prasad said on Saturday he was not sad, but was definitely surprised, with the Congress’ decision to contest 37 seats in Bihar and admit rebel RJD leaders into its fold. “Whatever they had will also go away now. Congress leaders might be arguing that they had got four seats and won three of them in the last election. But the fact is that the Congress had workers there but the voters were ours,” Mr. Prasad said.
He said the Congress was fighting the election this time in Bihar to ascertain their strength and not to win seats. “We welcome their decision. Let them keep the remaining three seats also and test their strength,” he said.
Mr. Prasad dismissed suggestions that the exit of his brother-in-law, Sadhu Yadav, a sitting MP, and some other RJD leaders from the party, could weaken the RJD. He urged the media not to describe Mr. Yadav as his brother-in-law saying: “We have been purified with their [RJD leaders who joined the Congress] exit.”
To a question whether he was upset with Mr. Yadav joining the Congress, Mr. Prasad said in a lighter vein: “I am not upset. I have a number of brothers-in-law.”
Mr. Prasad dismissed as “baseless rumours” reports that he had sought an appointment to meet Sonia Gandhi but did not get it. He denied any plan to quit the Cabinet in the wake of recent differences between the RJD and the Congress over seat-sharing, saying he was still the Railway Minister.
Mr. Prasad ruled out allying with the Third Front and said he, LJP president Ram Vilas Paswan and Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh would bring a good number of seats for the UPA to form the next government.
Claiming that the UPA would come to power after the elections, the RJD leader said: “The UPA has not collapsed. The RJD is the second largest party after the Congress in the UPA.” — PTI