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Maharashtra Congress going the MNS way, says Lalu

January 21, 2010 11:13 IST

Rashtriya Janata Dal supremo and former Bihar chief minister Lalu Prasad Yadav has criticised the Maharashtra government's recent decision to grant taxi permits to only those drivers who are well versed in Marathi and have resided in the state for at least 15 years.

Most taxi drivers in Mumbai are migrants from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

Lalu alleged that the ruling Congress-Nationalist Congress Party combine was 'going the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena's way".

MNS chief Raj Thackeray had hit the headlines last year when his newly-formed party started a violent campaign against migrants from UP and Bihar, accusing them of taking up jobs meant for local Marathi Manoos.

"The decision was taken with the sole objective of harassing the hard working people of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh," said the former Union railway minister.

He added that the similarities between the Maharashtra government's populist decision and Thackeray's parochial diktats were proved by the fact that the MNS had hailed the decision as a victory of their leader's policies and vision.

"I will talk to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi about this serious issue soon," Lalu Prasad told

Prominent politicians from Bihar including Lok Janshakti Party chief Ram Vilas Paswan and Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi also criticised the Maharashtra government's decision.

The new rules, approved at a meeting of the cabinet in Mumbai on Wednesday, state that those who apply for taxi permits or seek renewal of the same, must speak, read and write Marathi. They should also have documents proving their domicile in Maharashtra for the last 15 years.

M I Khan in Patna