Times of India and Telegraph. 9-12 March 1999
Bihar News

Times of India.
TI. 9 March 1999.
Page 1. **RJD has the last laugh as President's rule ends . File. Online.
-- **Rabri Devi vows revenge. File. Online.
- **RJD can't take Cong for granted. File. Online.
Page 6 -- **Laloo promises sops to Jehanabad. File. Online.
Page 12 - ** Editorial. Return of Rabri. File. Online.
TI. 10 March 1999. Page 14. Editorial. **Government and NGOs by Andre Beteille. File. Online.
TI. 11 March 1999. Page 1. **Cartoon. File. Online.
TI. 12 March 1999. Page 8. ** RJD Govt will be remembered for massacres. File. Online.
Telegraph .
Tg. 5 March 1999. Book Review. **Sin, Saints, and Cinema. File. Online.
Tg. 9 March 1999. Page 6. **Buoyant Laloo puts Dalits. File. Online.
OL. 15 March 1999.
True Colors. Online.. p. 34-35.
Damned if They Do. Online (Narmada).

Telegraph. 9 March 1999. p. 6.


New Delhi, March 8
A buoyant Laloo Prasad Yadav today ruled out early Assembly elections in Bihar and declared the first priority of the reinstated Rabri Devi government would be to uplift Dalits.

As the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) government got a lease of life, Laloo Yadav made a new promise � distribution of 400 acres of land among Dalits in Jehanabad, the district where two massacres in less than a month had led to the sacking of the Bihar government.

Hours after home minister L.K. Advani announced the revocation of President�s rule, Laloo Yadav marched down to the lawn outside Parliament where Mahatma Gandhi�s statue stands, garlanded it and said the reinstatement of the Rabri government was a tribute to International Women�s Day.

Later, he addressed a press conference inside Parliament, signalling his intention to govern better. Heeding the Left�s criticism of the complete absence of land reforms in Bihar, the RJD chief declared his first task would be to distribute land and focus on development activities � matters that never really figure on his agenda.

Since the Jehanabad massacres and the subsequent axe on the Rabri government had put the Dalit issue at the centre of the debate on President�s rule in Bihar, Laloo harped on his duty towards Dalits. �I will go on a padayatra with Rabri Devi to Jehanabad," he said.

The ruling BJP and its ally Samata Party had tried to brand Laloo Yadav and his allies as �anti-Dalit", and the RJD chief today signalled his resolve not to let the accusation to stick.

He focused on Dalits, land reforms and development, in that order, to take the wind out of the Opposition campaign. In his hour of victory, the Bihar satrap turned generous towards his traditional political adversaries � the CPI(ML), which has taken a lead in organising the landless poor in central Bihar.

�I will release from prison the Naxalites who have been falsely incriminated. But they also must give up terrorism," he said. The entire Opposition, including the Congress and the Left, had rallied behind Laloo Yadav in his hour of crisis and he effusively thanked his friends in need. He had a special word of gratitude for Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

During the crisis, Laloo Yadav had mopped up allies and buried the hatchet with the Congress and Left � parties which had been extremely critical of his functioning. �I am indebted to Sonia Gandhi," he said and then individually named all Left, Janata Dal, Tamil Maanila Congress and Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leaders who had spoken up on his government�s behalf in the Lok Sabha.

The RJD chief also made it a point to underline that Janata Dal leader Ram Vilas Paswan was not among those who had befriended him. �I thank all Opposition leaders minus Ram Vilas Paswan," he said.

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Telegraph. 5 March 1999. p. 13.


By Gautam Kaul, Sterling, Rs 600

Mohandas Karamchand Gan- dhi considered cinema �sinful technology". Asked to fill in a questionnaire sent to him by the Indian cinematograph committee, he rejected the request saying, �Even if I was so minded, I should be unfit to answer your questionnaire as I have never been to a cinema. But even to an outsider the evil that it has done and is doing is patent. The good if it has done at all, remains to be proved.

Gandhi�s aversion to cinema is confirmed by his statement in Harijan (May 3, 1942): �If I began to organise picketing in respect of them [the evil of cinema] I should lose my caste, my mahatmaship." Ironically, the Mahatma was documented on celluloid during his lifetime and later by Richard Attenborough, who gave the spartanly clad father of the nation a new coat of iconic paint in his record breaking, Oscar winning film, Gandhi.

Although Gandhi was allowed to see Vijay Bhatt�s Ram Rajya for just 20 minutes by his physician, Sushila Nayyar, he was interested enough to sit through the entire film, whose publicity, in those days, had cost as much as Rs 200,000. But apparently even this made no difference to his dislike of cinema, for he was impervious to its importance in this land of tamashas and raths.

Gautam Kaul�s pioneering work takes a wide angle look at cinema in the subcontinent since it first came to India with the monsoon of 1896. At least a couple of works in the regional language may have preceded Kaul�s, but he is the first to negotiate the wider expanses of this medium of mass entertainment and come up with a chestfull of nuggets, linking the new entertainment with decades of political movements.

The book does not, however, set out to be an infallible encyclopaedia though it does include a very useful filmography of �freedom films", arranged both alphabetically, along with the credits, and in order of decades, from 1921 to 1996. The book also contains political lyrics and a whole lot of fascinating and rare photographs, stills, posters and advertisements. The chapter on regional cinema is split into short overviews, allowing for quick reference in an otherwise �heavy" book.

Kaul has kept the language rather linear, and though it lacks stylistic fireworks and often smacks of officialese, it makes for compelling reading. This, despite the fact the book has quite a few factual and proofing errors. But considering the vastness of the vision, these and the rather tacky cover design, can be viewed with indulgence.

In perhaps the most interesting chapter, Kaul makes a detailed reference to the leadership of the freedom struggle and how it viewed cinema. Bal Gangadhar Tilak, the first to be caught up by the �sinful technology", was keen to make commercial use of cinema and had proposed to Dadasaheb Phalke in 1918 that he start the Hindustan cinema film company which could tie up with American producers to make films for export as well as the domestic market. Phalke spurned the proposal because he wanted to make films only on swadeshi themes. Tilak also wrote actively on Indian films in his paper, Kesari.

The first Indian litterateur to have the flicker of the projector catch his eye was none other than Rabindranath Tagore. The earliest short story of Tagore to be filmed was Manbhanjan (1923), directed by Naresh Mitra. His Bicharak (1929) was banned on charges of obscenity. Tagore tried directing himself with Natir Puja (1932) but gave it up because of technical complexities though he did play the role of an old monk in the film. Tagore also tried writing the scenario of his own play, Tapati, to be directed by Dhiren Ganguly, but that project was stillborn.

As early as 1900, Tagore also cut a gramophone disc with a rendition of Vande Mataram, which was manufactured by H. Bose�s Records. Interestingly, a copy of this disc could only be found 61 years later.

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TI. 12 March 1999. p. 8.
RJD Govt will be remembered for massacres

By Sachchidanand Jha

The Times of India News Service

PATNA: The nine-year rule of Laloo Prasad Yadav and his wife Rabri Devi will be long remembered for massacres. With social justice being its main plank, the Laloo-Rabri rule gave backward castes and Dalits a voice and a kind of assertiveness never witnessed before March 1990, when charismatic Mr Yadav took over the reins of power in Bihar riding a wave of popularity.

Still their government could not prevent ghastly killings of hundreds of Dalits in central and South Bihar. Starting with the Baathe massacre in Jehanababd district, in which an armed squad of Ranvir Sena, a banned private army of upper caste landlords, butchered 61 innocent Dalits on December 1, 1997, the 18-month-old Rabri regime has alone witnessed killing of more than a hundred Dalits so far. Rabri took over as chief minister on July 25, 1997.

The state has witnessed about 7,000 rape incidents since 1990 with 1,585 reported in 1998 alone. Similarly, more than 55,000 murders have taken place during the last nine years with 5,235 taking place in the last year. This included murders of three MLAs, including that of firebrand CPM leader Ajit Sarkar. During the same year, 1,305 cases of kidnapping for ransom were recorded.

In fact, it was the killing of 23 Dalits at Shankarbigha and 12 at Narainpur in Jehanabad district within a span of 17 days this year by the Sena which led to the imposition of President's Rule in the state on February 12. It was, however, revoked after 25 days.

The state has also witnessed the Bara, Rampur Chauram, Rampur Aiyara, Usri Bazar and Bhimpura massacres of upper caste Bhumihars by militants over the period.

Opposition parties, including the BJP, have charged Mr Yadav with extending patronage to both left and right wing extremist organisations to derive political mileage out of the caste war leading to massacres.

SCAMS GALORE: The RJD national president Laloo Prasad Yadav himself ruled the state for seven years, four months and 15 days out of these nine years during which several scams rocked the state. These include Rs 1,153 crore fodder scam, Rs 400 crore bitumen scam, Rs 300 crore medicine scam, engineering examination racket and muster roll scam. All these scams are currently being investigated by the CBI.

DECLINE IN POPULARITY: Laloo had the dubious distinction of twice being sent to jail in connection with two fodder scam cases in which he had been chargesheeted by the CBI. The unearthing of fodder scam in January 1996 led to sudden fall in the popularity of Mr Yadav even among his constituents, with Kurmis and Koeris, the two important backward castes, and a section of Dalits, shifting their loyalty to the BJP- Samata Party.

ECONOMY IN DISARRAY: With Mr Yadav playing the Mandal card since October 1990 to woo backwards to broaden his mass base, the state administration started drifting and the state could never meet the annual plan target during the last nine years. Despite the foreign visits of Mr Yadav, no NRI came forward to make investment in the state due to poor law and order as well as poor infrastructural facilities.

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IT.11 March 1999. p. 1.

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10 March 1999. Page 14.
Government and NGOs

Similar Goals but Contrasting Styles


WHEN the country became independent, many Indians looked to the government to play a leading and beneficial role in transforming the collective life of the nation. The leaders of the nationalist movement had spoken and written tirelessly about what needed to be done to enable India to take its rightful place in the comity of nations. There had been one insuperable obstacle in the way, and that was the presence of an uncaring and oppressive colonial power. A national government would do everything that the colonial government had been unable or unwilling to do. Professional Laxity

The conviction that a national government would play a major part in the regeneration of Indian society was very widespread among the Indian intelligentsia. Many of the brightest and the best students in the metropolitan universities aspired to careers in the civil service, not simply in the interest of personal gain, but also because they believed that such a career would enable them to lead fruitful and constructive lives.

The attitude to the government and to public service through the organs of government began to change, slowly at first and then with increasing rapidity after 1977. The trauma of the Emergency was followed by the disorder of the first non-Congress government in New Delhi. The post-Emergency period brought in a culture of public exposure whereby the misdeeds of the government and its functionaries began to be widely exposed, sometimes in an exaggerated form. This led to a general loss of esteem for the institutions of governance. It also reinforced the turpitude and venality that were already there among civil servants, for it is a truism that men behave badly when they lose their self-esteem when they are deprived of public esteem.

I was for many years a regular visitor to the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration at Mussoorie where I often discussed the state of the nation with the probationers and the course directors who were mostly members of the various services. From the late seventies onward, I detected a growing disenchantment with the services among the latter. I was told repeatedly that professional laxity and corruption had become endemic in the services. I sometimes found myself in the peculiar position of a university professor having to defend the Indian Administrative Service from trenchant attacks against it by its own members.

It was in Mussoorie that I first learnt about the good work being done by the NGOs, and the tremendous opportunities being opened up by them for public service in various fields. In the discussions there, a sharp contrast was often made between the dull and confined routine of the bureaucrat working for the government and the freedom and initiative of the social activist serving the NGO. Some civil servants resigned from the government to work for one or another NGO, and others set up their own NGOs on retirement. In this and other ways, the NGO has come to occupy an established place in public life in India.

Looking back on those discussions of 20 years ago, I am reminded of the dialectic of church and sect that has been a part of many religious traditions. In this dialectic, which has been extensively studied by sociologists of religion, the church has been viewed invariably as conservative and hierarchical, and the sect as radical and egalitarian. The distinction just noted has been especially emphasised by the founders of new sects.

Sects have had highly varied historical fortunes. Many have died or disappeared without leaving much trace. Some have grown and prospered. Their development from origin to maturity has shown certain common patterns across the different religions. Growth and prosperity have led, with unfailing regularity, to changes in both doctrine and organisation. With success, the sect becomes less doctrinaire and more pragmatic, and less fluid and more organised. This dual process may be described as routinisation. Through it, the successful sect comes in course of time to look more and more like the church, the disenchantment with which was the original cause of its foundation.

Sources of Fund

What kind of relationship -- of complementarity or competition, of mutual help or mutual hindrance, of convergence or divergence -- are the NGOs likely to develop with the governmental organisations that work in broadly the same fields into which they are entering? The successful NGO tends to extend its operations, and, in doing so, it has to come to terms with the very problems of funding, management and accounting that bedevil the work of the government.

The acquisition and management of large funds requires both time and effort. The move from social activist to fund raiser and fund manager has been made with ease by many, but it has also brought about some change in their orientations. In my limited experience, the prime movers of successful NGOs do not like to talk about the sources of their funding, preferring to dwell instead on the work their organisation is doing and the work that remains to be done.

Then there is the question of organisation, division of labour and remuneration. Not everyone can afford to work without pay. The successful NGO needs to have administrators, accountants, project officers and field staff. Their terms and conditions of work have to be specified in a more or less formal way. Even the most dedicated promoters of social causes have to make some concessions to the demands of bureaucratic routine.

Health of Democracy

Modern organisations have certain common characteristics, whether in the public or the private domain, in the governmental or the non-governmental sector. Here, as important as the sector in which the organisation operates is the scale of its operation. It is at this point that the NGO seem to replicate, not just the ways of functioning but also the forms of organisation of agencies of the government. This cannot be an argument against the existence or even the expansion of voluntary activity in the social field outside the government's ambit. Such activity plays a vital part not only in the regeneration of society but also in the health and well-being of democracy. The public will no doubt appreciate the good work that is being done by the NGOs. But they, in their turn, must be ready to submit themselves to the same exacting scrutiny and assessment that they expect the public to exercise over the work of the government.

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TI. 9 March 1999. p. 12. Editorial
Return of Rabri

In the 50 years since Independence, elected state governments have been sent packing at will by those sitting imperiously in judgment in New Delhi. It was almost as if the right to dismiss was a perk that came with holding office at the Centre. Mrs Rabri Devi has made constitutional history by being the first chief minister to be reinstated after dismissal. Given this, the coming days will almost certainly be dominated by Mr and Mrs Laloo Prasad Yadav, a couple with highly developed political instincts. But even as they dazzle onlookers with their inimitable brand of special effects, other participants in this overstretched drama, in particular the BJP and its allies, will surely ponder the constitutional significance of the development. Indeed, henceforth, not just the BJP, no political party will rush to despatch an elected ministry. Even the numerous failings of the Rabri Devi government did not warrant the kind of open prejudice shown towards it by the BJP-Samata Party combine. The Samata Party advanced the untenable claim that dismissal of Mrs Rabri Devi was a promise it had made in its election manifesto. By this logic, the ruling party in a state should be able to deliver to its voters the scalp of the Central government. An elected government cannot be removed simply because its presence is inconvenient to its opponent. The obvious way out was for the Samata Party to defeat the Rashtriya Janata Dal in an election, which evidently it was not prepared for.

The irrational position assumed by the BJP-Samata combine has cost the government enormously, both politically and in terms of prestige. The two parties were well advised to give up on their collective obsession once the President had returned their advice on grounds of constitutional infirmities. A major reason cited then was the government's lack of majority in the Upper House. For the Samata Party, however, it was imperative that it saved its own restless ranks from splitting on the issue and the Jehanabad massacres turned out to be just what it needed to resume its aborted mission. That there was no material alteration in the government's strength in the Rajya Sabha was ignored. Instead, in their enthusiasm, Samata stalwarts George Fernandes and Nitish Kumar misread signals from the Congress camp to mean a go-ahead on Bihar. The conditions precedent for Central governance may not have been explicitly laid down in the Constitution, but the Bommai judgment has so reduced the grounds for dismissal as almost to render Article 356 a `dead letter'. In fact, the judgment had restored the original status of the Article as delineated by Ambedkar and others. Experts are divided on whether developments in Bihar constitute a `constitutional breakdown' -- the only ground now available for dismissal. They are unlikely to differ on another aspect, though: The fact that the Vajpayee government mishandled and miscalculated on Bihar. Fortunately, the BJP's more sensible allies saw to it that the charade was not carried into the Upper House. To the extent the BJP has cut its losses, it should be happy, for lately the government has notched up achievements that it must strive to consolidate.

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TI. 9 March 1999. p. 12. Editorial
Laloo promises sops to Jehanabad

The Times of India News Service

NEW DELHI: Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) leader Laloo Prasad Yadav asked for a public apology and resignations from Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and Union home minister L K Advani for trying to impose President's rule in Bihar and wasting lakhs of rupees of government money in terms of wasted Parliamentary time.

On a high after the government revoked President's Rule, he used his moment of triumph to make some ambitious promises - to distribute 400 acres of land in the violence-stricken district of Jehanabad within a fortnight of a RJD government being sworn in and offering amnesty to all Naxalites operating in the area who did not have murder charges against them. He also announced that in a few days, he and Ms Rabri would do a padayatra in Jehanabad district.

A happy Mr Yadav addressed an impromptu press conference in the portico of Parliament House, rushed off to pay respects to Mahatma Gandhi, whose statue faces it and then looked up to see what looked like all the occupants of the building watching him from the first floor corridor. Dashing back into the building, he led a triumphal march up the stairs and into a press conference room where he addressed a second press conference - also impromptu.

Using the fact that Monday was International Women's Day, he said, ``Today is International Women's Day - it is fitting that on this day a grassroots woman like Rabri Devi whose neck the BJP sought to chop has been restored to power.'' ``It is also fitting that on this auspicious occasion, all the forces of secularism and social justice, the CPM, the CPI, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhgaham , the Tamil Maanila Congress, the Janata Dal minus Ram Vilas Paswan, and the Congress, particularly Ms Sonia Gandhi. Today, the roots of democracy and secularism have been strengthened,'' he said.

Asked whether he wanted Bihar governor Sunder Singh Bhandari to be removed, he said, ``Mr Bhandari might not find it congenial to remain governor. He will soon have to address a joint session in the Bihar assembly where he will have to read a speech prepared by the next ministry and it will contain strong criticism of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bajrang Dal, which he may not want to read. It would be better if the Centre sent some secular person who is acceptable to Ms Rabri Devi.''

Meanwhile, the CPM and the CPI said the revocation of President's Rule in Bihar was ``an important victory for the democratic forces in the country''. Blaming the BJP squarely for the debacle, the Left parties said, `` No other central government has been so authoritarian or brazen in its persistence to misuse the draconian provisions of Article 356. This should be a warning to all political parties in the BJP alliance that undemocratic methods and subversion of federalism will not pay.''

Simultaneously, Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav demanded the immediate resignation of the Vajpayee government at the Centre. The Rabri Devi government was ``wrongly'' dismissed by the Centre in violation of the Constitution, he said.

The revocation was also ``an insult'' to President K R Narayanan who would have to issue another proclamation revoking Central rule, he said, adding that he had protested when the President had come to address members of both houses on the opening day as his speech contained a reference to the dismissal of the RJD government.

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TI. 9 March 1999. p. 1.
RJD can't take Cong for granted

The Times of India News Service

NEW DELHI: After the reinstallation of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) government in Bihar, the Congress would offer it conditional and issue-based support.

Stating this here on Monday, Congress spokesman Ajit Jogi said the party's unit in Bihar will not spare the RJD government if it did not check atrocities on dalits and other deprived sections.

In response to a question if the Congress still stood by its earlier stand that the Rabri Devi government had lost moral authority to rule after the killings of Dalits, Mr Jogi said, ``Yes, we do. Not only Bihar government but any government which could not ensure protection of the weaker and disadvantaged sections has no moral right to govern''.

While officially the Congress maintained that it was for the RJD legislators to choose their leader, unofficially the party is expected to try and put pressure on RJD chief Laloo Prasad Yadav to find a replacement of Mrs Rabri Devi as chief minister of the state.

Individual party leaders such as working committee member Tariq Anwar and deputy leader in the Lok Sabha P.Shiv Shankar have expressed the view that Mrs Rabri Devi should not be reinstalled. They would prefer a dalit or a member of a minority community to head the state government.

In any case, in order to counter the BJP's campaign that the Congress was not bothered for the plight of dalits, the Congress leadership has asked the Bihar Congress to launch agitational programmes against both the BJP as well as the RJD.

``The party line is,'' said a Bihar Congress functionary preferrred not to be named, ``that while we will try to expose the BJP's communal idealogy, we will not spare the RJD government for corruption and lack of development in the state''.

Commenting on the government's decision to revoke the President's rule in the state, Mr Jogi said after having brought the issue before Parliament, the government should have presented the resolution in the Rajya Sabha as well''.

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TI. 9 March 1999. p. 1.
Rabri Devi vows revenge

By Dipak Mishra

The Times of India News Service

PATNA: It was Holi and Diwali put together at noon at 1, Anne Marg, the official residence of the Bihar chief minister, on Monday as news of the Union cabinet's decision to revoke President's rule in the state came in. The crowds which had vanished during President's rule, reappeared bursting crackers, smearing one another with gulal and raising pro-Laloo and Rabri slogans.

Deposed chief minister Rabri Devi was jubilant and aggressive. ``Bhandari (governor S.S. Bhandari) should leave Bihar within five minutes bag and baggage,'' she declared while speaking to reporters.

(Mr Bhandari, however, rejected the RJD demand for his resignation. He nevertheless promised to extend full support to the Rabri Devi government.)

Reacting to the spate of transfers effected by the governor, she vowed to retaliate in a similar manner. ``Hum bhi kisi ko chhorenge nahi,'' she asserted while stating that former chief secretary S.N. Biswas and DGP K.A. Jacob had been humiliated by being transferred the very night President's rule was imposed.

She said after the re-installation of her government, she would ``restart the development work'' which had got ``stalled'' during President's rule. ``During President's rule, the BJP and Samata Party leaders have done nothing except transferring officials. There were carnages, loot and killings for which the BJP and Samata Party leaders are responsible,'' she added while noting that the decision to revoke President's rule was welcome since it was done on Women's Day. She promised that ``strong measures'' would be taken to stop mass killings in the state.

Incidentally, the former CM was watching parliamentary proceedings on TV and chatting with a woman journalist when her brother Sadhu Yadav broke the news to her on phone. Before that, her phone continued to ring with RJD leaders making anxious inquiries about any message from `Saheb' (Mr Laloo Prasad Yadav) about the developments in Delhi. ``Keep watching TV,'' she told former Union minister Kanti Singh on phone.

And after the news came in, her former principal secretary Mukund Prasad, who too had been shunted out during President's rule, was among the first to congratulate her. Soon, all roads appeared to lead to 1, Anne Marg. Mr Sadhu Yadav and his followers were among the first to arrive.

A beaming former finance minister Shankar Prasad Tekriwal declared that the first thing the reinstalled RJD government would have to do was to cancel the orders for transfer of officials on Sunday. ``Once the President signs the revocation orders, we will enter our chambers again,'' he announced.

The former CM's other brother, Subhash Yadav, besides some former ministers also arrived with ladoos and garlands. ``During President's rule, many regular visitors to the CM's house had vanished. We must recognise the faces of such people,'' remarked one former minister.

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TI. 9 March 1999. p. 1.
RJD has the last laugh as President's rule ends

The Times of India News Service

NEW DELHI: In an unprecedented move which will pave the way for the reinstatement of the Rabri Devi government in Bihar, the Union cabinet on Monday decided to revoke President's rule in the state.

Home minister L.K. Advani and parliamentary affairs minister P.R. Kumaramangalam informed the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha simultaneously about the cabinet decision.

The decision followed the rejection by the Congress of Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee's last-minute appeal to party president Sonia Gandhi on Sunday night to reconsider the decision to oppose Central rule in the state. The ruling coalition, which got the proclamation on President's rule ratified by the Lok Sabha, was not in a position to do so in the Rajya Sabha where it is in a minority.

President K.R. Narayanan, who was away in Khajuraho during the day, withdrew the proclamation of imposition of Central rule in Bihar on his return to New Delhi late in the evening.

Earlier in the day, the government's decision was greeted with thumping of desks by opposition members, especially those belonging to the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Samajwadi Party, in both Houses.

Soon after the Lok Sabha met for the day, leader of the opposition Sharad Pawar demanded that the government keep its promise about making a statement on Bihar. Mr Advani said he was prepared to make a statement immediately but sought the chair's direction whether it could be made at noon, after question hour, since it could then be made simultaneously in both Houses.

In the Lok Sabha, the opposition criticised the government for undermining the authority of Parliament by deciding to revoke Central rule. The CPM went to the extent of demanding its resignation.

Congress chief whip P J Kurien said by not abiding by the constitutional requirement of taking the statutory resolution on President's rule to the Rajya Sabha, the ruling party had ``undermined the authority of Parliament and taken the House for a ride''.

Terming it as a ``black day'', CPM leader Somnath Chatterjee said the government had brought the resolution with much bravado knowing all the time that it had no chance of getting it approved by the Upper House. ``They should resign,'' he said.

Mr Kumaramangalam explained that since it had become clear that the resolution could not be passed in the Upper House, the government, after making a ``last-ditch effort'' by talking to the Congress president, had decided to revoke Central rule in the state.

The Left parties charged the Vajpayee government of ``persistently misusing'' Article 356 to dislodge an elected government, saying revocation of President's rule in Bihar was a victory for democratic forces in the country.

``No other Union government has been so brazen or authoritarian in its persistence to misuse the draconian provisions of Article 356,'' the CPM and the CPI said in a joint statement.

Samajwadi Party leader Mulayam Singh Yadav demanded the immediate resignation of the Vajpayee government. Speaking to reporters, he said governor Sunder Singh Bhandari would also have to go. ``But the BJP-led government must immediately resign,'' he said.

``So much time has been wasted in Parliament over the Bihar issue and I want to know who is responsible for this,'' he said. ``This government is fully responsible and it must resign immediately.''

The revocation, he said, also amounted to ``an insult'' to the President who would have to issue another proclamation revoking the Central rule.

RJD chief Laloo Prasad Yadav said the government took the decision to impose President's rule under pressure from its ally, the Samata Party. He said the government tried every effort to avoid taking the statutory resolution to the Upper House as it was aware of the consequences.

Favouring a ``secular person'' in place of Mr Bhandari, he suggested that the Centre propose a set of names for the governor's post to the state government.

Mr Yadav asserted that the reinstalled Rabri Devi government would provide adequate security to Dalits and other weaker sections of society, initiate land reforms, economic development and adequate supply of water and electricity.

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Bihar News