The Bharatiya Janata Party is to review its ties with the Janata Dal (United) at the highest level, although for the moment it continues to say it wants to carry on the good development work done by the Nitish Kumar government in Bihar.
On Monday, BJP president Nitin Gadkari went into a huddle with senior leader L.K. Advani. Later he met others, including Bihar party president C.P. Thakur and Bhagalpur MP Shahnawaz Husain.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Thakur and Mr. Husain briefed Mr. Advani on the recent developments in the ties between the coalition partners. Mr. Husain told journalists that Mr. Gadkari would consult party leaders at all levels on the simmering tensions in the alliance.
The BJP wants to retain the alliance, but not at the cost of self-respect, its leaders have been saying. The task before the leadership is to gauge whether Mr. Kumar has made up his mind to “go it alone” in the coming Assembly elections and, if so, to break off the ties with the JD (U) before it does so.
The bonhomie between the coalition partners evaporated ever since the BJP's Patna conclave on June 12, when Mr. Kumar articulated his displeasure at the media blitz launched by the BJP to project Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
He was especially annoyed that his permission had not been taken before using a photograph showing him holding hands aloft with Mr. Modi. He has since returned Rs. 5 crore given by the Modi government towards flood relief.
“We want self-respect and we want development for Bihar. The BJP was leading the struggle against the government of the Rashtriya Janata Dal and we had a major role to play in its defeat. … We have played an equal role in Bihar's development,” Mr. Husain said.