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Paswan's Muslim CM issue impractical: Cong

Press Trust Of India

Posted: Sep 02, 2005 at 1102 hrs IST

Making clear its electoral preference for RJD, the Congress today extolled RJD chief Laloo Prasad as a strong leader and an able administrator and disapproved of LJP president Ramvilas Paswan's steadfast refusal to compromise on the issue of a Muslim Chief Minister terming it as 'impractical'.

“Nobody can doubt Paswan's secular credentials. Paswanji quit the NDA government to protest against Gujarat riots. He is a big leader and a champion of the cause of the weaker section and we respect him. But, unfortunately, he has chosen a path which leads to nowhere,” Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh said addressing a meeting of Bihar Congress delegates.

Singh, who is party in-charge of Bihar, said “Paswan’s insistence on a Muslim Chief Minister is impractical.”

The Congress was the biggest champion of the cause of the Muslims, he said.

The former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister said the trust of Muslims in the Congress had "diminished" after the demolition of the Babri mosque but the party had been able to regain it to a large extent under the leadership of Sonia Gandhi.

“Congress made several Muslim leaders Chief Ministers, including Abdul Ghafoor in Bihar, Anwara Taimur in Assam and A R Antulay in Maharashtra. Two Muslims were made Presidents of the country during the Congress regime and the party extended support in the installation of the third,” he said.

The Congress leader lauded Laloo Prasad for his leadership qualities and said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had also praised him for his performance as railway minister.

“Notwithstanding the rise in prices of diesel and electricity, Laloo ji did not burden the common man by hiking fares and still earned for the railways handsome profits,” Digvijay Singh said.

Describing Laloo as a strong leader, Congress general secretary said “he fought the February Assembly polls against all-- NDA, Congress, LJP, Election Commission and the media -- and yet his party emerged as the single largest. This is no mean achievement.”

Singh said RJD's performance in the last Assembly polls was 'remarkable' by any standard as he faced anti-incumbency factor too. ‘‘Fifteen year is a big period and anti-incumbency factor is very strong against you. I could not withstand it beyond ten years,” said the former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh.

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