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Lalu, Paswan to skip Union cabinet meeting

Lalu, Paswan to skip Union cabinet meeting

Author: PTI
Publication: The Pioneer
Date: May 8, 2009
URL: http://www.dailypioneer.com/174764/Lalu-Paswan-to-skip-Union-cabinet-meeting.html

Union Ministers Lalu Prasad and Ram Vilas Paswan are skipping the cabinet meeting here on Friday in an apparent disapproval of what they see as overtures made by Congress General Secretary Rahul Gandhi to their rival in Bihar Nitish Kumar.

While key aides of the RJD and LJP chiefs downplayed the issue, there was speculation in political circles that they were unhappy over the way the Congress appears to be reaching out to the JD(U).

Asked whether Paswan is not attending the meeting because he was unhappy over Gandhi's remarks, LJP secretary general Abdul Khalik told PTI, "there is no question of boycotting the cabinet meeting. We are still in UPA and in the cabinet."

"Paswan cannot attend the cabinet meeting today as his election meetings were scheduled in Kolkata where four party candidates are contesting in the last phase of polls. Moreover, there was no agenda from our ministries (Paswan's) in the cabinet meeting," he added.

He, however, acknowledged that there is unhappiness in the rank and file of LJP over Rahul's remarks adding, "His statement during elections only benefitted JD(U)."

Moreover, Congress candidates in Patna Sahib and Nalanda got their votes transferred to JD(U) candidates after Gandhi's remarks, Khalik claimed.

Addressing a press conference in Delhi this week, Gandhi had praised the Bihar Chief Minister for his work.

Congress media department Chairman M.Veerappa Moily downplayed the development underlining that the cabinet meeting was a "routine one" and not for demonstration of solidarity of UPA members.

"It is too far fetched. We should not draw adverse inference out of imagination," he said adding that the two leaders were part of the UPA Government.

Earlier in Patna, the RJD President's private secretary Bhola Yadav said,"...Railway minister is not going to Delhi to attend the cabinet meeting."

He, however, added that the minister had not attended several cabinet meetings in the past as well and "the media is just playing up the issue."

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