Sonia calls up Paswan after fire at his home (Lead)

May 13th, 2009 - 7:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Sonia Gandhi New Delhi, May 13 (IANS) Congress president Sonia Gandhi Wednesday rang up estranged ally Ram Vilas Paswan to express her concern after a fire broke out at the Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) leader’s official residence here.
Paswan, who struck a pre-poll alliance with Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Lalu Prasad in Bihar leaving the Congress in the lurch, said Gandhi had called him up to inquire about the incident and his well being.

Paswan is a central minister in the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government. But during the poll campaign, he and Lalu Prasad had traded barbs with the Congress.

Paswan had ridiculed the Congress for putting up a candidate against him.

The LJP leader was watching television with his wife in a room at his 12 Janpath residence when he was told about the fire that broke out in the adjacent drawing room around noon.

“I and my wife were watching television in the adjacent room, when they informed us about the fire. We came rushing out of the house. If this is the maintenance of the house of a minister then you can guess what will be the common man’s plight,” Paswan said.

Delhi Fire Service officials said the fire broke out in an air conditioner installed in the drawing room of the house, that is next to Sonia Gandhi’s residence.

The fire spread in the room and gutted two cupboards besides damaging a sofa set, chairs and several statues kept in the room.

Two fire tenders doused the flames in half an hour. No one was reported injured in the incident.

“The fire may have been caused due to a short-circuit in the air conditioner because of overheating in the compressor. It then spread and gutted the drawing room,” said a fire service official.

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