Narendra Modi’s elevation widens BJP-JD(U) divide
Patna: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) may have resolved one crisis on Tuesday by convincing LK Advani to withdraw his resignation from key party positions, but is now bracing for another trouble.
With Advani relenting on letting Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi continue as the head of the election campaign committee, apparently at the behest of the RSS, the JD(U) has been forced to reconsider its continuance in the opposition National Democratic Alliance (NDA), say sources.
Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar, a key ally of the BJP, is opposed to Modi being projected as the PM candidate of the NDA. Modi’s anointment as the BJP poll panel chief is a step towards him being named party’s PM candidate eventually.
Nitish, whose party is in power in Bihar in alliance with the BJP, held a Cabinet meeting last evening. However, sources said the issue of Modi-Advani tussle did not come up at the meeting.
But that doesn’t mean, add sources, that the JD(U) has readied itself to acknowledge ‘PM’ Modi.
Following Modi’s elevation on Sunday, JD(U) had said that it was discussing its response to the development. The CM is reported to have begun consultations with senior colleagues on the matter.
Nitish is believed to have told all MLAs not to leave Patna till June 15. Reason: the party could be forced to take a decision on its continuance in the NDA anytime soon.
A meeting of JD(U) can be called to decide the fate of the alliance any time after June 14. Nitish will be covering Katihar in his Seva Yatra on June 13 and 14, after which a decision is likely to be announced.
Sources in the party say that parting of ways is “almost certain” as it believes that it is now only a technicality for BJP to name Modi its PM candidate.
“When Modi has been made campaign committee chief and the command of election has been handed over to him, will somebody else be declared the PM candidate if BJP performs well? Now declaring Modi a PM candidate of BJP is only a technical thing,” a senior leader in JD(U) said.
“Days of JD(U)’s ties with BJP are numbered” and a “big announcement” is expected “anytime” were the refrains of the state leaders as the party also got in touch with the six independent MLAs.
JD(U) has 118 MLAs in 243-member Bihar Assembly and needs the support of only four more MLAs to reach the magic figure. There are 91 MLAS from BJP, 21 from RJD and one each from LJP and CPI in the state Assembly.
“If he (L K Advani) is not at the helm of affairs, it will be very difficult for us to continue in the alliance… NDA’s prime ministerial candidate should be secular, have a clean and progressive image. We will not compromise on the issue of secularism,” JD(U) general secretary KC Tyagi had said, virtually threatening a pull out.
JD(U) has in the past said that it will quit its alliance with the BJP if Modi is named the latter;s PM candidate.