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My concern is for Bihar, not power: Laloo

May 21, 2004 11:46 IST

Laloo Prasad Yadav on Friday asserted that he was not hankering for power but was only concerned about changing the face of Bihar.

The Rashtriya Janata Dal president, who had returned to Patna on Thursday evening amid reports of sharp differences with the Congress over his demand for the home portfolio, left for Delhi on Friday morning saying he will disclose his party's role in government formation there.

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He stuck to his demand for a special financial package and special status for Bihar saying no purpose would be served by joining the Manmohan Singh-led United Progressive Alliance ministry if Bihar continues to remain poor.

"Lal batti wali gaadi mein ghoomne se kya hoga?" (what does one stand to gain by moving around in a car with red beacons) Yadav told reporters at Patna airport before boarding his flight.

"After all, I am not demanding anything new. The Atal Bihari Vajpayee government had promised a special package for Bihar to cope with the loss of resource-rich Jharkhand. Even Rajiv Gandhi had promised a special economic package for Bihar."

He charged the National Democratic Alliance government of having pursued policies that promoted regional imbalances with Bihar being one of the worst victims.

"They did not spend on roads and other infrastructure and did not care to set up air cargo facility as a result of which our farmers are unable to get proper returns for their produce. I am more interested in getting a fair deal for the youth, the farmers and the poor of Bihar than wangling a choice ministerial berth for myself and some of my MPs," he said.

At an emergent meeting of the RJD legislature party chaired by Chief Minister Rabri Devi held late on Thursday night authorised him to take a final decision on whether to join the UPA government or to support it from outside.

The RJD strongman denied reports that he had left Delhi in huff angry over Congress rejecting his demand for the home portfolio.

"Some mischievous elements in the media have spread the canard that I had sought the home ministry or the post of deputy prime minister. Neither did the Congress seek any proposal from us nor did we submit any proposal (on ministries) to them. Laloo Yadav is not a beggar," he said.

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