JD (U), BJP divided over MNS row in Bihar

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Patna, Nov 10: The Maharashtra issue has apparently caused fissures between the JD(U) and BJP, the main coalition partners of the NDA, as both have chosen separate lines to lodge their protests against the assault on Biharis by MNS activists in Mumbai.

The JD(U) went ahead by putting in the papers of its MPs from the Lok Sabha on the issue. However, the BJP, which described it as an uncalled for step, stayed away from the resignation strategy.

The fate of the five JD(U) MPs, who submitted their resignation papers on November 7 on the Maharashtra issue, is likely to be decided today by the Lok Sabha Speaker. After putting their papers, the MPs had stated they they would fight till the end for the dignity of the people of their own soil.

The BJP, though vociferously demanding for sacking the Maharashtra government over the issue, felt that instead of resigning, political leaders, cutting across party lines, should launch a united movement for safety of the people of Bihar who were being attacked outside the state, including Maharashtra, Delhi and Assam.

Meanwhile, the separate lines chosen by the coalition partners on the vexed issue forced Bihar Chief Minister and senior JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar to give open statements confirming the unity of the NDA.

Mr Kumar denied any rift with the BJP over the resignation issue saying that both the alliance partners were working in tandem and their unity was as strong as it was earlier.

Clarifying the party's stand over Maharashtra issue that created a flutter in the political arena of the entire nation, especially in Bihar, Mr Kumar said it was a decision of the parliamentary board of the party and not of the NDA. He categorically stated that the JD(U) never expected similar action by the BJP.

Mr Kumar further stated that JD(U) and BJP both were equally concerned with the incidents and had taken steps to prevent such attacks on Biharis. The Chief Minister, however, maintained silence over the links of the BJP with the Shiv Sena and evaded the related queries.

Asked about seeking of resignation of the RJD MLAs by the party chief and Railway Minister Lalu Prasad on the issue, Mr Kumar dubbed it a ''drama'', saying that it was all a gimmick of Mr Prasad which would never bear fruitful results.

Instead of indulging in politics over the matter, he suggested his friend-turned-foe to be serious on such issues, saying that Mr Prasad was in fact trying to vitiate the entire episode.

''In case the RJD was at all serious on the matter, its MPs should have resigned to create pressure upon the UPA for taking effective action,'' Mr Kumar said, adding the whole exercise of Mr Prasad openly indicated their ''lust for power''.

Justifying the resignation by the JD(U) MPs Mr Kumar said they had shown a light to the other political parties.

UNI

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