No Lalu, no UPA, indicates Paswan

Patna, April 22 (Inditop) Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Ram Vilas Paswan indicated Wednesday that it would rethink its relationship with the Congress if Rashtriya Janata Dal’s (RJD) Lalu Prasad was not part of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA).

“Jo secular forces hain usme bitterness nahin aani chahiye. Lekin agar Congress aisa keh rahi hai, tho hum sochenge. (There should no bitterness among secular forces. But if the Congress is saying so, we will think about it),” Paswan said when he was asked if he would continue in the UPA if Lalu Prasad was not in it.

Paswan, who is in his constituency Hajipur, told a television channel that it was too early to comment on an alliance with the Third Front.

The LJP chief’s comment comes a day after the Congress took umbrage at Lalu Prasad’s remark that the UPA’s prime ministerial candidate would be decided only after the elections. An irate Pranab Mukherjee, a Congress leader, said in that case there would be a question mark on whether Lalu Prasad would be in the UPA government after the Lok Sabha polls.

The RJD chief, who had said he considered Prime Minister Manmohan Singh a “nice man”, responded by saying “time will tell who is with whom”.

Later in the night, the tensions eased with Mukherjee saying that Lalu Prasad had spoken to him on telephone to convey that he would be with the Congress in forming a UPA government.

The LJP and RJD have tied up for an alliance in Bihar, leaving the Congress to go it alone in the 40 Lok Sabha seats.