The Janata Dal (United), who remained guarded on Narendra Modi’s elevation, shed its diplomacy on Monday and said the exit of a tall leader like LK Advani from the Bharatiya Janata Party is certain to fray relations within the National Democratic Alliance.
“Mr. Advani’s resignation is a serious development. It shows that the BJP does not accord any importance to senior leaders who are like father figures. When it does not recognise its own leaders, what importance would they accord their allies? We are just an ally,” senior JD (U) leader Shivanand Tiwari told The Hindu.
JD (U) leaders held that Mr. Advani was the glue that kept the NDA together as he was instrumental in building the JD (U)-BJP alliance. With his absence would create a void in the already beleaguered relationship between the two partners.
“We are shocked, surprised and in pain. We are hurt and disturbed by the tone of the Goa meeting. In these circumstances, it is not easy for us; it is not possible for us to work in this arrangement. So the NDA is on ventilator support,” JD (U) general secretary K C Tyagi told The Hindu from Darjeeling.
Asked if it was just a matter of time for the JD (U) to take a decision on whether to stay in the alliance, Mr. Tyagi said, “We are seriously thinking. But we have not taken any decision yet.”
Mr. Advani was the founder of the alliance, along with Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Nitish Kumar. “Our arrangement was with Mr. Vajpayee, who is not keeping well. Now with Mr. Advani gone, to whom do we communicate our agenda?” Mr. Tyagi said.
Another JD (U) leader Devesh Chandra Thakur said that Advani was the comfort factor for the JD (U). “For the last 17 years, the BJP and the JD (U) shared a comfortable relationship with Mr. Advani, who was among the founders of the alliance. Mr. Advani’s exit will definitely make a dent in the NDA,” he told The Hindu.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Monday indicated that a meeting of the JD (U) leadership is on the cards to discuss the situation in the BJP.