Karnataka MPs seek Lalu Prasad’s apology

February 26th, 2008 - 8:05 pm ICT by admin  

New Delhi, Feb 26 (IANS) Unconvinced by his explanation that he had been misquoted, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MPs from Karnataka Tuesday sought Railway Minister Lalu Prasad’s apology for allegedly saying that he was opposed to quotas for Kannadigas in the railways. The minister’s explanation in the Lok Sabha that he had been misquoted and that he was responsible for “selecting” a prime minister from the state - referring to former prime minister H.D. Geve Gowda - did not satisfy the agitated MPs.

Led by former central minister Ananth Kumar, the MPs sat in front of the Mahatma Gandhi statue at the main gate of parliament, protesting against Lalu Prasad after he presented the railway budget.

“We will continue to raise the issue in the house and we want the minister to apologise to the people of Karnataka,” Kumar said.

Raising the issue in the Lok Sabha just ahead of Lalu Prasad’s railway budget presentation, Kumar said a newspaper quoted the minister as saying that he was against giving any reservation for Kannadigas.

However, Lalu Prasad said he was asked about quotas for Kannadigas by a media person, to which he replied that such “dirty” regional issues should not be raised.

“You cannot expect such communal or regional statements from seasoned politicians like us. I have the highest respect for the people of Karnataka and the nation,” he said.

To emphasis his point, the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief added: “I have made a person from Karnataka the prime minister. But he did not support you.”

He was referring to Deve Gowda’s Janata Dal-Secular party’s unwillingness to support a BJP-led government in Karnataka last year.

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