Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Rabri to stop monsoon*

Bihar Chief Minister Rabri Devi has criticised the monsoon for bringing floods and disaster in her state. She said the monsoon was being unfair to the state in an election year and accused it of playing into Opposition hands.

"All the roads are swept away, train tracks have disappeared. I have to build all these roads before the Assembly election. My husband has to work on the rail lines. Monsoon has targeted my family," she told a press conference.

Her husband, Lalu Prasad, is the railway minister of India. Three months ago, her husband used to be Laloo Yadav.

Ms Devi, who is known for her soft-spokenness and mild manners, threatened to ban the monsoon from the state if she is returned to power.

"Met Department says Monsoon has to cross Bihar to rain in rest of the country, including Delhi. But just because Delhi, Punjab and Haryana need water, I will not let Bihar suffer. We do not need water and the Bihar Assembly will pass a bill to stop monsoon from crossing the state next year."

When asked how will she be able to stop monsoon, a natural phenomenon, she said it is 'possible'.

"No one is above the law. If Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh can stop water in his state's interest, why can't I. What is monsoon if not water?"

She said if Delhi wanted monsoon, the Central government should find an alternative route.

When told that monsoon cannot be controlled by any law, she said she would ask Lalooji and the railway ministry to help out. "He is building road bridges from railway funds for me. He has allocated new train routes in Bihar, I am sure he would find an alternative route for monsoon too."

She ended the press conference abruptly when reporters once again asked how. "You all look educated but none of you got any brains. You ask the same how again and again," she said as she left for her TV room to see if the press conference was being shown live.

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