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"Only Kesri Can Topple Uf"

Karnataka chief minister J.H. Patel has come out openly in support of Laloo. Excerpts from an interview with Y.P. Rajesh:

INTERVIEWS J.H. Patel | 23 July 1997
"Only Kesri Can Topple Uf"
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Why do you support the RJD’s admission into the United Front?

What I’ve said is that the decision of the UF vis-a-vis the RJD is binding on the JD and the PM. When you can take support from Sitaram Kesri, what is the ideological problem about admitting the RJD?

But senior leaders like Deve Gowda, Sharad Yadav and Ram Vilas Paswan disagree.

It isn’t a personal matter. It’s a question of taking a political line.

And who decides the political line?

The party. Why should individual leaders bother? This controversy is totally unwarranted. At least the United Front should take a decision about admitting him or not. I told Madhu Dandavate and Paswan that if Gujral—of course, he has no say—wants to strengthen his government with the support of all parties concerned, what is wrong with it? We are prejudiced against Laloo, but what is the ideological difference here? Even now, let the Janata Dal decide if it wants to continue in the UF or not if Laloo is invited. Let the UF decide whether Laloo’s party should be admitted into the front.

And why is the prime minister unable to prevail upon his colleagues in the party?

It is very difficult for him to manage such a crowd. He is not one who built a party organisation. He is very systematic, bureaucratic, intelligent and can deal with nations but not these kind of political parties. He says, you people who built the party, the senior leaders, decide something quickly and I’ll go by that. Anyway, it won’t affect the government as it is. The only person who can destablise the government is Kesri.

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