NATIONAL

Laloo elected party chief, urges secular forces to unite

The Rashtriya Janata Dal chief, Laloo Prasad Yadav, with his wife and Bihar Chief Minister, Rabri Devi, after he was re-elected national president of the party, in Patna on Friday. — PTI  

PATNA Oct. 10. The Rashtriya Janata Dal president, Laloo Prasad Yadav, today urged all secular and democratic forces to form a coalition to defeat the BJP-led NDA in the next Lok Sabha elections.

The coming Lok Sabha elections will be a golden chance for all the secular forces to join hands to defeat the BJP-led Government, Mr. Yadav said while addressing the inaugural session of the RJD's two-day national convention after being re-elected as its president for the third time consecutively.

``If we fail this time, I don't think the country will remain united. With its dwindling vote base, the BJP had resorted to desperate measures to stick to power not only invoking the name of Lord Ram but also by attacking Dalits and tribals.''

Weakened by the BSP leader, Mayawati's exit from the NDA, the BJP ``has implicated her in false cases and is harassing her'' out of vendetta.

The Chhattisgarh Chief Minister, Ajit Jogi, is ``being targeted'' for political reasons as the Assembly elections are under way.

The Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, promised to give a clean and corruption-free Government. But ``they have broken all past records in corruption, not even sparing coffins meant for martyrs,'' he said.

The RJD, he said, would intensify its agitation to put down communalism and for the betterment of the lot of the poor.

``They are now talking about reservation for the poor among the upper castes. The BJP is taking the people for a ride.''