OTHERS

Rabri files papers in Raghopur

PATNA, MAY 8.The Bihar Chief Minister, Mrs. Rabri Devi, today filed her nomination papers at Hajipur for the by-election in the Raghopur constituency.

The seat fell vacant after her husband and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo, Mr. Laloo Prasad Yadav, gave it up, while retaining Danapur, which he had won in the Assembly elections.

The once-sleepy constituency elected Mr. Yadav in 1995, when he contested as Chief Minister. He gave it up after his resignation as Chief Minister and election to the Lok Sabha in 1998. Mr. Yadav has nursed the constituency well in the past five years and groomed his wife into a political figure.

Now, Whether Mrs. Rabri Devi would campaign all by herself depends on the possibility of Mr. Yadav, securing bail, he having been remanded to judicial custody in a disproportionate assets case.

The RJD, by fielding Mrs. Rabri Devi, has apparently taken the battle into the enemy's camp once again. The mere speculation of the Chief Minister contesting, has forced the NDA to suspend its agitation to demand her resignation.

The RJD objective is to secure a popular verdict in favour of Mrs. Rabri Devi, and silence the NDA. It is also another attempt to make the cases registered against her and Mr. Yadav an electoral issue.

Addressing a meeting after filing her papers, Mrs. Rabri Devi, said: ``Hum longaka cheer haran hua (We were disrobed). But you people came to our rescue with a Krishna avtar and saved the rule of the poor. The NDA, she alleged, was trying to usurp power from the poor and cases were foisted against her and her husband with this objective.

The RJD supremo sought to consolidate Mrs. Rabri Devi's position by inducting the JD (U) leader, Mr. Bishundeo Rai, who had contested the elections against him. This is likely to further unite the Yadavs, who dominate the constituency.