JD (U) calls it as internal affair of BJP

While the Shiromani Akali Dal, the oldest electoral ally of the BJP, described the anointment of the Gujarat Chief Minister as chairman of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s Election Campaign Committee for the 2014 general election as a masterstroke and a knock-out punch against a staggering UPA government, the JD (U), which has threatened to pull out of the NDA if Mr. Modi was projected as the prime ministerial candidate, has played it down as purely an internal affair of the BJP.

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, in a statement. said that the development had already sent shock waves within the UPA, which stood completely demoralised, as was borne out by the nervous reactions of its leaders. The octogenarian leader said that Mr. Modi's elevation would further clear out the strong anti-Congress and anti-UPA wave that swept the country.

Mr. Badal, who arrived in Mumbai on a four-day official visit, spoke to Mr. Modi on the phone to personally congratulate him and called the BJP president Rajnath Singh to compliment him for the decision. Mr. Badal said that Mr. Modi’s proven hold over the popular imagination combined with the sober and experienced leadership of Mr. Rajnath Singh would prove to be a deadly combination and “too hot for the Congress to handle.”

Senior JD (U) leader Devesh Chandra Thakur, however, downplayed it. “Mr. Modi has been made chairman of the BJP’s poll campaign committee, not the NDA’s,” he said. Mr. Modi’s new responsibility was an internal matter of the BJP.

At a party conclave in New Delhi a few weeks ago, the JD (U) had made it abundantly clear that it would not accept projection of Mr. Modi as NDA’s prime ministerial candidate on the plea that his secular credentials were not strong.

BJP vice-president Uma Bharti has written to Mr. Rajnath Singh, apologising for the embarrassment she had caused to the party by her absence at the national executive committee meeting in Goa.

In her letter on Saturday, she accused the press of preying on the BJP.

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray telephonically congratulated Mr. Modi. Welcoming his appointment, the Shiv Sena leader said the BJP’s election campaign would help the NDA in defeating the Congress-led UPA government at the hustings.

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