Monday, November 29, 1999

RS Polls: Paswan``s fate hangs in balance

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Patna, Jun 16 (PTI) The fate of LJP president Ram Vilas Paswan as a Rajya Sabha candidate from Bihar depends on how Congress votes tomorrow even as the CPI(M) has decided to abstain from voting. The RJD-LJP combine has been depending on Congress having 10 MLAs and three Left parties accounting for nine MLAs to see its two candidates through as it has eight votes less than required. The CPI has issued a whip to its three MLAs to support Paswan. CPI-M Politburo member R S Pillai told a press conference that the lone party MLA Ramdeo Verma would abstain from voting in tomorrow''s biennial elections to five Rajya Sabha seats from Bihar. Pillai criticised the RJD-LJP combine for allegedly joining feudal forces and opposing land reform. The CPI(ML), having five MLAs, has imposed a condition on Paswan to secure its support. Paswan has to make a statement in favour of implementation of the recommendation of D Bandyopadhyay Commission on Land Reforms in Bihar, said CPI(ML) general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya. The RJD (55 MLAs) and LJP (13) have 68 votes against the requirement of 76 to ensure the victory of Paswan and Ramkripal Yadav of RJD. If CPI(M) and CPI(ML) do not vote tomorrow, the effective strength of the House will come down and, if Congress too abstains, it will make the victory of two candidates of RJD and LJP easier.

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