Lalu gets defensive after arrest orders (Second Lead)

April 7th, 2009 - 5:50 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Patna/New Delhi, April 7 (IANS) Railways Minister and Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) chief Lalu Prasad, who faces arrest for his threatening remarks against young Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Varun Gandhi at an election rally in Bihar, said Tuesday he was speaking only against “fascist forces”.
The RJD chief, in Kishanganj, 350 km from the Bihar capital, Monday said had he been the home minister he would have run a “roller” over Varun Gandhi for his hate speeches against Muslims.

“If I were the country’s home minister, and if Varun had said this (inflammatory speeches), then I would have run a roller over his chest and thought about the consequences later.”

Lalu Prasad clarified to NDTV that he had not named anyone. “What I meant to say that as far as I am concerned, I would not have spared fascist forces” and taken stern action if they divided the country on communal lines.

His ally in Bihar, Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) chief Ram Vilas Paswan said: “His (Lalu Prasad’s) remarks were not personally against anyone. He said whoever made such speeches would have been dealt with strongly.”

The Kishanganj district Superintendent of Police Ram Narayan Singh ordered the arrest of Lalu Prasad on the basis of a complaint filed against him at the police station in the morning.

Union Home Minister and Congress leader P. Chidambaram, however, made light of Lalu Prasad’s remarks. Addressing a press conference in Delhi, the home minister said: “These statements should not be taken literally.” The Congress and RJD are part of the ruling United Progressive Alliance (UPA).

A First Information Report (FIR) was filed against the RJD chief on the directive of the district administration.

The ruling Janata Dal-United (JD-U) criticised the comments.

Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said that Lalu Prasad’s remarks were nothing but a move to create trouble in a peaceful state like Bihar.

Similarly, Sudheendra Kulkarni, an advisor to BJP’s prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani, said the railways minister’s remarks were “nothing else but hate speech”. The BJP and JD-U are partners in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

Speaking in a TV discussion, Kulkarni said though Varun Gandhi had disputed the CD containing his inflammatory remarks, the BJP had dissociated itself from his reported speeches.

Varun Gandhi is in Uttar Pradesh’s Etah jail for his reported inflammatory speeches targeting Muslims.

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