Local parties to play key role in Prez, LS polls: Lalu

New Delhi: Sending a message to national parties, RJD chief Lalu Prasad today claimed regional parties will play a key role in the coming Presidential election and the next Lok Sabha polls. However, he refused to indicate his party`s strategy on the candidature of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, widely speculated to be the UPA nominee, though he praised him no end.

Participating in the discussion in Lok Sabha during the Special Sitting to mark 60 years of the first session of Parliament, he said, "From Delhi to Kolkata, it is the sway of regional parties all the way." These parties will play a significant role in the Presidential election as also the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, he said. Turning to the Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee, the RJD leader said the senior leader "has the right to scold us and his intentions are never bad and later he agrees to our point of view.

"We have authorised him to scold us," he said, as the House and Mukherjee joined in the laughter that followed. He wished a long and active life for Mukherjee whom he hailed as a workaholic but ignored prodding by a BSP member that he should say "keep moving up". Amid thumping of desks by BJP members, Prasad also showered praise on Atal Bihari Vajpayee saying the veteran leader was not in Parliament due to illness.