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Home > India > News > Report

Managing Bihar tougher than Iraq, says book

Rediff News Bureau | March 05, 2008 17:11 IST

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Conducting elections in Bihar during the chief ministership of Rabri Devi was tougher than handling chaos in Iraq which the United States invaded in March 2003 to remove its dictator Saddam Hussein, says a new book Rabri Devi: Lalu's Masterstroke.

 

Written by Manoj Chaurasia, a senior journalist with The Statesman, the book says the state of affairs during the 2005 Assembly polls in Bihar was no less chaotic than Iraq's.

 

While the United States deployed about 90,000 troops to remove the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, the Election Commission of India had to deploy 1,25,000 troops to conduct the four-phase elections in Bihar in October-November 2005, says the 287-page book published by the Vitatsta Publishing Pvt Ltd, New Delhi.

 

Says the book, "Official reports published in the media during the Iraq war revealed that the US had deployed about 90,000 soldiers in the Iraq War. Official figures available with the State Election Commission reveal that 1,25,000 forces, including Central paramilitary forces, state armed police and other security personnel, were used in the four phases of polls in Bihar."

 

Because of the heavy deployment, says the book, a huge percentage of 60-65 percent of voters stayed away from the democratic process as only 35 to 40 percent of voters exercised their voting rights and decided the fate of the existing Rabri Devi government.

 

The book also takes potshots at Bihar's "poll hero" KJ Rao who, it says, held a camera to report poll stories for a Bengali news channel when West Bengal went to polls while he could have very well used his "Bihar experience" to rid the left-ruled states of alleged poll-rigging.

 

According to the book, the Congress conspired with the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) of Ram Vilas Paswan, a Cabinet minister in the UPA government at the Centre to dethrone the Rabri Devi government in Bihar when she was looking almost "invincible".

 

It says that the Congress spoiled the game-plan of the Lalu Prasad while deciding to align with the LJP in February 2005 Assembly polls which saw the ruling Rashtriya Janata Dal reduced to only 75 seats owing to sharp division of secular votes.

 

This ended the 15-year rule of Lalu's RJD with the President's rule imposed in Bihar as no party or alliance managed to secure majority.

 

"Game" over, the Congress joined hands with the RJD in October-November elections which further destroyed its prospect as RJD was slid down to 54, its worst tally ever, says the book.

 

It says that Sonia left the RJD chief in distress almost every time even though Lalu and his party had always defended the Congress chief from the Opposition's attacks, be it on the streets or in Parliament. Even when Sushma Swaraj announced to shave her head and lead the life of a sanyasin if Sonia became the Prime Minister of India, it was Lalu who had strongly criticised the BJP leader.







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