NATIONAL

`Opportunity lost to create anti-BJP wave'

Patna Nov. 24. The former Union Minister and Lok Janshakthi party president, Ramvilas Paswan, has accused the Congress of "double standards" and squandering away an opportunity to create a decisive anti-BJP wave in the run-up to the Gujarat Assembly elections.

Talking to newspersons here on his return from Ahmedabad, Mr. Paswan said that he was not upset that the Congress failed to work out a seat-sharing arrangement with his party, but was over its abstention from the Legislative Council by-election in Uttar Pradesh, as it had indirectly helped the cause of the BJP-BSP combine.

It was clear from the eight-vote defeat of the Opposition supported candidate, that the Congress presence could have tilted the scales the other way.

And it would have sent a clear message to the Governor that the Mayawati-led Government had been reduced to a minority and he would have had no option but to direct the Chief Minister to prove her majority on the floor of the House.

Mr. Paswan said he had decided against contesting the Gujarat elections as a partner of the Congress, no sooner than he learnt of the U.P. result. He said that he would not do anything that would harm the cause of the Opposition in Gujarat and felt that the people of the State would defeat the BJP's designs.