Lalu,Maken campaign for respective candidates in Simaria by-poll

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Ranchi/Koderma, Feb 1 (UNI) RJD president and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad today said Congress leader and CWC member Ajay Maken's criticism of the Madhu Koda government in Jharkhand was absolutely a personal statement sans AICC's approval.

Mr Prasad also said that he had complained to Congress president Sonia Gandhi regarding the CWC member's deliberations regarding the issue.

Mr Yadav was on tour of the state to campaign for CPI candidate Ramchandra Ram and spoke to reporters here at Jhumrri Telaiya before setting out for rallies at Tandwa, Simaria and Itkhori.

Reacting to Mr Yadav's comment, Mr Maken, who was in Ranchi told UNI over phone that he was in-charge of the state and his opinion would not deviate from that of the AICC.

''AICC was...is and will be sticking to its stand over the Koda government...We are fighting the poll on two specific issues-- corruption and development,'' Mr Maken said.

The RJD chief countered the Congress allegation against the Koda government and asserted that the UPA government in the state was working and it is the responsibility of the allies to ensure its smooth functioning.

On the Congress' fielding candidate in Simaria, Mr Yadav said the party had no base there and in the last poll the CPI was placed in the second position.

However, the Railway Minister said he was not going to poll rallies with ploy of attacks and counter-attacks and he would seek vote for the Left party candidate.

''At the Centre, our government is supported by the Left and hence we should help them in this poll on moral ground'', he said.

On the other hand, Mr Maken, who was scheduled to attend at least five election rallies spread over the constituency said the ground realities for the Congress were ''fast changing''.

He, however, said that he did not want to be drawn into any controversy, making it clear that the Congress was approaching people with specific poll plank.

Mr Maken, earlier, defended the party's decision to field former RJD member Yogendra Nath Baitha saying neither RJD nor JMM had consulted them before extending support to the Left candidate.

Significantly, the RJD leader said the fight in Simaria would not affect the UPA coalition at the Centre adding in Gujarat also ''we were engaged in friendly fight''.

UNI TEAM PRS LL MSJ AS1416

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