Pranab blames his ‘broken Hindi’ for spat with Lalu

Kolkata, April 22 (Inditop) A day after his spat with Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad, Congress leader and External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee Tuesday sought to end the controversy by blaming his “broken Hindi” for the “confusion”.

What he had wanted to say in Bihar’s Samastipur Monday was that Lalu Prasad’s party and the Congress had a pre-poll understanding in the 2004 Lok Sabha polls, the minister said.

“He was our pre-poll ally. So, he was naturally part of the government. But since this time there has been no pre-poll understanding, he has to extend support after the election to be a part of the government,” Mukherjee told reporters here.

“But I said all this in my broken hindi. Perhaps this is causing confusion.”

Mukherjee said Lalu Prasad had called him Monday night. “I then told him everything. He told me henceforth I should speak only in English.”

Praising the Rashtriya Janata Dal chief and Ram Vilas Paswan of the Lok Janskhakti Party (LJP), who have tied up for a seat sharing alliance in Bihar, he said: “They were both part of our government. We appreciate their contribution in running their departments, particularly the way Laluji ran the Railways”.

He also refused to join issue with Paswan, saying in a vibrant democracy like India every political leader was free to make his own observations and take his political decisions.

On Monday, Lalu Prasad said in Bihar that the prime ministerial candidate of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) would be decided only after the elections. To which Mukherjee took umbrage and reportedly 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.

Adding his bit, Paswan said in his constituency Hajipur that he would have to rethink the relationship with the Congress if Lalu Prasad was not part of the United Progressive Alliance (UPA).