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'Lalu's defeat blessing in disguise for Cong, UPA'

Source: PTI
November 22, 2005 15:44 IST
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Lalu Prasad Yadav's defeat in Bihar is in a way seen as a blessing in disguise for Congress and the party-led coalition at the Centre and the election results are unlikely to have any serious repercussions on the government.

Formal denials by the ruling party notwithstanding, Congressmen are said to be not completely upset over the "flickering" of the 'lantern', the Rashtriya Janata Dal symbol, and feel that the United Progreesibe Alliance coalition would now run more smoothly, given Lalu's tendency to dictate things with 24 Lok Sabha members behind him.

"It is a win-win situation for us both at New Delhi and in Patna" was the frank admission of a senior Congress leader who for obvious reasons declined to be named.

Besides, no one in the Congress is lamenting over the sorry plight of Lok Janshakti Party's Ram Vilas Paswan, who sought to fish in troubled waters for a second time. The demand for Paswan's ouster from the UPA and coalition could gather momentum in the coming days, but it is uncertain what shape it would finally take, alliance sources say.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his government had suffered most of the problems from the opposition due to the "tainted" ministers from RJD, including Lalu, and therefore the "downsizing" in Bihar is a news to cheer about.

Lalu, known for his not so gentle ways, had rode roughshod over the sensibilities of the Congress and the Prime Minister, hailed by all for his simplicity and unassuming style on many issues.

"We will no longer be at the mercy of Lalu on anything. He will no longer be able to bamboozle us. His downsizing makes us more powerful," said another leader adding, that the Bihar outcome would have "no serious repercussions" on the Centre.

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