‘Issue of PM contenders within NDA can be sorted out after elections’
Veteran Bharatiya Janata Party leader L.K. Advani’s latest prediction, on his blog, of the possibility of a non-Congress, non-BJP Prime Minister after the next Lok Sabha elections continued to evoke sharp reactions from the BJP’s allies.
While Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray on Tuesday slammed Mr. Advani’s views saying there was no guarantee on the outcome of the general elections due in 2014, senior Janata Dal (United) leader and MP Shivanand Tiwari concurred with the veteran BJP leader’s prediction.
“What has happened to our ally BJP? Has it been afflicted with an illness or has it been beset with internal squabbles,” Mr. Thackeray said in an editorial in the Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece Saamna. Describing Mr. Advani’s musings as “demoralising,” the Shiv Sena supremo asked the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) “not to lose heart.”
“If Mr. Advani has any doubts, he can come to me and I will give him a dose of morale and strength. This is like a general saying before a war that there is no guarantee on the outcome, and demoralising the entire army,” Mr. Thackeray said. He asked the NDA to prepare for the general elections with renewed vigour.
The Sena chief said the issue of contenders for the Prime Minister’s post within the NDA could be sorted out after the elections. “The blog has put BJP in a quandary,” Mr. Thackeray said.
“Even Mr. Advani himself has been a prime ministerial contender over the years and if there is consensus, his wish can also be fulfilled. The blog will fuel ambitions in Nitish Kumar and Narendra Modi for the Prime Minister’s post,” he said.
Mr. Tiwari, however, backed the BJP veteran, saying he “understands the pulse of the country’s politics.”
“Advaniji is a very senior person. He has contested many an election and toured the country extensively. He understands the pulse of the country’s politics and the trends. He has written something on the basis of an objective analysis,” he said.