statesman news service
NEW DELHI/PATNA, 13 JUNE: The rift between the NDA allies, JD-U and BJP widened further today with Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, sharpening his stance against the move to appoint Mr Narendra Modi as the BJP’s campaign committee chief. However, former BJP president Nitin Gadkari rushed to JD-U chief Sharad Yadav’s residence here to resolve the crisis.
According to reports, Mr Kumar’s deputy, Mr Sushil Kumar Modi, of the BJP, today skipped office and refused to sign government files. He has also cancelled all his government programmes.
While the stage is almost set for a parting of ways as Mr Kumar has expressed his inability to work on ‘joint poll management with Narendra Modi’, a small ‘hurdle’ seems to be opposition from within by a section of JD-U leaders.
“NDA exists right now and we are making efforts to see that the situation that has taken a bad shape can be rectified,” Mr Yadav, who is the convener of NDA, told reporters after meeting Mr Gadkari.
Mr Yadav met Mr Gadkari and the BJP’s key Muslim face, Mr Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, a day after the BJP patriarch, Mr L K Advani, had called Mr Yadav as well as the Bihar chief minister asking them not to act in haste. Senior BJP leader Mr M Venkaiah Naidu also urged Mr Kumar to follow coalition dharma.
Several JD-U MPs in the Lok Sabha are opposed to quitting NDA and more so aligning with the Congress. “It will be very difficult for us to share platform with Congress leaders after attacking the ruling party on corruption and other issues for the last four years,” a party MP told The Statesman. He added, “we lost the recent Maharajgunj by-election simply because BJP workers stayed away”.
Mr Sharad Yadav refused to comment on whether JD-U will stick to the NDA if Mr Modi is not the PM candidate. Asked specifically whether Mr Advani was acceptable to the JD-U as PM candidate, he merely said, “This thing is not for me alone to decide.”
Top Bihar BJP leaders held an emergency meeting in Patna today and questioned the rationality of the JD-U’s "hue and cry" over its decision to make Mr Modi the party’s election campaign committee chief.
“Can we choose JD(U) president or its other office bearers? … Likewise, no other party has any right to dictate us who should be given what post within the party,” state party chief Mangal Pandey told reporters in Patna after the two-hour meeting.
“Till 9 June, JD(U) state chief Bashist Narayan Singh and other leaders were saying the appointment of Narendra Modi is an internal matter of BJP … What happened to them in the past two-three days that they are making such a hue and cry?” he asked.
“BJP did nothing against the coalition dharma during this period. Then, why are JD(U) leaders talking like this and straining relationship?” he said.
Later, BJP national vice-president C P Thakur told PTI that there is no question of changing the decision on the elevation of Mr Modi).
Today’s meeting also discussed the visit of BJP president Rajnath Singh to Patna on 23 June.
Alliance with Nitish hypothetical: Cong
NEW DELHI, 13 JUNE: Even as JD-U kept BJP on tenterhooks on the issue of Narendra Modi, Congress today termed as “hypothetical” Nitish Kumar walking out of NDA and it aligning with his party. Congress also dismissed the idea of a Federal Front floated by leaders like Mr Kumar, Miss Mamata Banerjee and Mr Naveen Patnaik. Responding to a question on whether Congress will ally with Mr Kumar’s party if it parted ways from BJP, party spokesperson Mr Shakeel Ahmed said: “This is hypothetical. We are as of today in mood to go it all alone. What will happen in future, nobody knows. Today Mr Kumar is with the BJP. As long as any party is with BJP, there is no possibility of us going with them,” he said. pti