Lalu critical of Mah CM in handling MNS

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New Delhi, Oct 26 (UNI) Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) supremo and Union Railway Minister Lalu Prasad today criticised the role of Chief Minister Vilasrao Deshmukh in handling Maharashtra Navnirman Sena chief Raj Thackerey and violence unleashed by his party in the state.

Participating in a discussion on a private television channel, Mr Prasad said Mr Deshmukh was sleeping like ''Kumbhkaran'' when the state was buring and Maharashtra strongman and Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar did not openly criticise the violence that was unleashed by the MNS supporters.

Mr Prasad, who is a champion of backward politics and openly supports the reservation policy, advocated that ''merit should be the only criteria for job seekers, not the ethnic and linguistic identity'' as it is now a well-settled procedure for competitive exams for job seekers.

The Railway Minister openly threw a challenge that if Maharashtra boys were more talented, let them defeat Biharis in open competition and capture all the jobs.

Mr Prasad said he asked Mr Pawar why he did not do something as he was a popular leader of Maharashtra.

The RJD chief said he did not get a convincing answer from Mr Pawar. He asked why Mr Pawar was not openly saying anything on the issue.

On the question of Batla House episode at Jamia Nagar in South Delhi, Mr Prasad felt that the UPA government had not handled it properly.

The government should have announced a judicial probe into the incident to erase the suspicion from the minds of the minorities, Mr Prasad added.

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