Monday, March 30, 2009

Lalu PrasaD Exclusive Interview

Raj Kumar and Dipak Mishra, TNN
Take a guess. What will the numbers be like after the polls?
NDA will score 100, plus or minus 5 seats. Not more than that. See, AIADMK has parted ways with NDA. So has Trinamool in Bengal. And also BJD in Orissa. Chandrababu Naidu has also said goodbye to NDA. In fact, had it not been for the greed of remaining in power, even Nitish, who heads the JD (U) -BJP government in Bihar, would have jumped off the sinking NDA ship.
What about others...?
That I haven't calculated exactly. Left parties will win seats in their pockets like West Bengal and Tripura. And UPA will get a majority.
What do you mean by UPA? Mulayam, Paswan and you have formed a fourth front...
No, no, no. We are part and parcel of UPA. We have joined hands to prevent confusion among voters. If we do not speak against one another while seeking votes, the morale of our voters will be high. Otherwise they will say, 'kya bhai, yeh log toh apne mein lad rahein hain'. The motive is to prevent communal forces from coming to power. Not that I aspire to become PM after the polls. My prime ministerial candidate is Manmohan Singh. I respect Sonia Gandhi. She is a great woman; has overcome many odds... Bahut bhadra mahila hain. You swear by Sonia whereas the Congress is out to cut you to size... Congress has announced it will field candidates in Bihar against RJD-LJP combine, and its candidates include your brother-in-law Sadhu. The party will also take on RJD in Jharkhand... (Frowns)
How can I prevent anyone from contesting polls? But that would lead to a division of votes... And though you swear by Sonia, you will have to speak against Congress while electioneering... I don't need to target Congress for, it is nowhere in the fight. As for division of votes, even Independents walk away with 5,000-7,000 votes. This is not an assembly poll, it is a parliamentary election in which 5,000-7,000 votes don't matter. But LJP and SP are saying the Congress is out to finish regional parties. Hence, the RJD-LJP-SP bonhomie... That is also true. Big fish always want to gobble small fish. But the small fish that we are has 'bada, bada kaanta (big bones)' which will stick in the throat. The fact is no single party can form a government on its own. Congress has even praised CM Nitish Kumar and his secular credentials while you berate him for 'sitting in the lap of communal forces'... The whole world knows Nitish bats for L K Advani as PM. And what did Advani do? He demolished Babri Masjid. Just because Nitish is shedding crocodile tears on Varun Gandhi's highly condemnable, communal statement, he cannot be secular. Had I been the home minister, I would have taken stern action, put Varun in a 20 foot X 20 foot prison cell, and the very next day he would have apologised to the nation. Nitish says you are an opportunist. That's why you once shook hands with Congress and have now wooed Paswan and Mulayam... Nitish ko dard kyo ho raha hain (Why is Nitish feeling pain)? I'll tell you why. His JD(U) is in tatters. Poor George Fernandes...He founded JD(U) and Nitish arrogantly denied him a ticket. The problem is, Nitish does what Lalan Singh (JD(U) state president) says. Even your wife's brother Sadhu Yadav has revolted against you... I don't even take the name of the man you are talking about. He is like 'Ramji's horse'. Know the story? There was this horse who used to pull the chariot on which the idols of Rama and Sita were placed. People threw flowers on the idols and some of these fell on the horse. He thought the flowers were for him. From sheer pride, he started strutting and then dancing and jumping. The idols fell down and were broken, and the furious public 'ne latam, juttam kar diya ghode ka'. But Congress has high hopes from the same horses. Not only Sadhu, it has also given ticket to your former partyman, Ramai Ram. Ramai will lose his deposit from Gopalganj. 'Kyonki Gopalganj mein toh mera ghar hai'. Ramai will make a lot of money though as he will keep rushing to Congress leadership and say 'it's a very tough fight. Give me more money'. After the polls, he would laugh his way to the bank. When will Lalu become PM? Lilar mein jis din likha hoga, bharbhara ke PM ban jaunga (I will become PM the day it is written on my forehead).
Who will be railway minister if UPA comes to power again?
No 'ifs' and 'buts'. UPA will form the government.
Will the minister be Lalu or Paswan? (Laughs) We will decide. Let the time come.