Lalu lashes out at Maharashtra decision on Mumbai cabbies
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Last Updated: Sunday, February 07, 2010, 22:34
New Delhi: RJD chief Lalu Prasad Yadav on Sunday lashed out at Maharashtra government's recent decision to give taxi licences to only Marathi speaking drivers and those who have stayed in Mumbai for 15 years, terming it "dangerous" and sought Chief Minister Ashok Chavan's dismissal.

In an interview to a Hindi news television channel, Yadav said, "the (state) cabinet raised the issue of domicile and decided that taxi licences will be given only to those who have lived in Mumbai for 15 years. This is a very dangerous decision, it will break the country."

A press statement issued by the channel quoted Yadav as saying that "it was wrong what Bal Thackeray and his nephew (Raj) did. The country is being divided. Even more dangerous is what the Maharashtra government did. Rahul Gandhi and Congress must act. They must dismiss the Maharashtra Chief Minister".

The former Railways Minister also said that he was "disillusioned" with the Congress, with whom he was an ally in the previous UPA government.

"Yes I am disillusioned with the Congress. When the government (UPA-II) was formed these people did not need us. They got the minority vote. Votes were given to them due to certain reasons. When Varun Gandhi's statement became known and then Advani was mentioned, people felt he should not become Prime Minister, so they voted for Congress," the statement quoted him as saying.

Criticising Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi's recent Bihar tour, Yadav said, "We don't have objections to anyone coming to Bihar but it is not right to go to colleges and do politics."

"The way permission was given to visit the university's women's college, we feel it is a wrong trend. Educational institutions should be kept away from politics," the former Railways Minister said.

The RJD chief alleged that "older Congressmen like Baliram Bhagat, Baleshwar Ram, are being punished. New boys are taking the centrestage and cocking a snook at these veterans".

He, however, said that he "has the same respect for Congress chief Sonia Gandhi as before. She is a good lady. She may have her own constraints. The new generation has arrived so she may have certain constraints".

On Rahul Gandhi, Yadav said, "he is being used by sons of so called kings, that is those who are educated and computer savvy ... That is what I said in Parliament, there is a lot of TTM these days in all parties. When someone asked me what do you mean by TTM, I explained 'tabad todh tel maalish' (sycophancy)".

Asked whether he regretted not having allied with Congress in the general elections, Yadav said, "no I don't regret it. It is not necessary that we remain together forever. We only supported them where they deserved it. The rest was not meant to be."

On UPA government's alleged failure to control price rise and his criticism of it for the same, the statement quoted him as saying that "it is not about one man (Sharad Pawar). It is a collective responsibility. The cabinet cannot escape blame by holding just one man responsible. If you feel Pawar is responsible then remove him but government cannot escape the responsibility for its failure to check price rise".


First Published: Sunday, February 07, 2010, 22:34

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