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|January 10, 1998||
RJD ministers resign from UF
The Rashtriya Janata Dal headed by former Bihar chief minister Laloo Prasad Yadav formally severed its links with the United Front government when three of its ministers resigned from the Union ministry on Friday night.
The ministers who tendered their resignation were Kanti Singh (coal and mines), Jai Narain Prasad Nishad (environment) and Raghuvansh Prasad Singh (food and civil supples).
The UF leadership and Prime Minister I K Gujral were virtually locked in a battle, with the former insisting the three ministers be dropped after the RJD's alliance with the Congress. After debating the issue, the UF core committee had last month decided to leave it to the conscience of the ministers and RJD leadership.
Laloo Yadav initially ruled out the possibility of his ministers stepping down voluntarily and asked Prime Minister I K Gujral to drop them. The controversy raged for the whole of last month, and the former Bihar CM had two rounds of talks with Gujral. At the last meeting the prime minister is understood to have told Yadav that the RJD ministers should quit in view of the increasing pressure from the UF leadership.
Kanti Singh told newspersons that they took the decision in deference to the wishes of Gujral and their party chief. She said they had not thought it fit to resign earlier because the RJD joined the Jan Morcha only a few days ago. (The Congress is part of the front in Bihar.)
She expressed gratitude to Gujral for having retained them despite the RJD's quitting the government.
Laloo Yadav, she added, has already invited Gujral to contest from Bihar and assured him victory.
''We were with him yesterday and we will be with him tomorrow,'' she said, adding the PM expressed sadness while accepting their resignation.
Displaying the RJD's election symbol 'lantern', Singh said it would 'provide light in every house in Bihar'.
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