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Alliance with BJP a 'tactical necessity': JD(U)

August 30, 2005 19:02 IST

Piqued by Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh's barb against its leader Nitish Kumar on the issue of reservation for converted Dalits, the Janata Dal (United) on Tuesday hit out at the saffron combine and said the Bharatiya Janata Party should not expect it to shed its "long held" ideological positions.

In a strong reaction to the criticism of Kumar by RSS mouthpiece Organiser, JD(U) general secretary and spokesman Shambhu Shrivastwa said "nobody, whether the RSS or the BJP, should have any misunderstanding that we have left any of our long-held ideological positions for being part of the National Democratic Alliance."

However, he made it clear that the situation was unlikely to affect the tie-up between JD(U) and BJP in the coming Bihar elections and appealed to all "anti-Lalu forces" to join hands.

"We wish to make it clear that in Bihar, we joined hands with BJP only as a tactical necessity to get rid of Lalu's misrule. The compromise on assembly seats should not be misunderstood as compromise on our ideological positions," Shrivastwa told reporters in New Delhi.

The Organiser, in an editorial, had criticised Kumar for favouring reservation for Dalit converts to Christianity and Islam. Shrivastwa said his party viewed the attack on the "NDA's chief ministerial candidate" in Bihar "very seriously."

"The RSS is a socio-political organisation and should not make such statements," he said.

Shrivastwa said Kumar's views on reservation, which was the party's position since long, had been espoused by Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa as well.

"We do not expect BJP to leave its ideology and they should do the same," he said. Shrivastwa said "the whole of Bihar wanted to be rid of Lalu's misrule and we will join hands with whoever necessary for this purpose."

Asked whether he was referring to Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Janshakti Party, he said, "I don't want to take names, but whoever is truly anti-Lalu should join hands."

To a query about reports that leaders of the party were taking different views on the issue of reservation for women in Parliament, Shrivastwa said "we feel the Gill formula (of making it mandatory for parties to reserve 33 per cent seats for women) is the most practical way forward."

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