Senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha triggered a row on Monday by suggesting that his party project Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the prime ministerial candidate in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

The suggestion was frowned upon by NDA convener and JD (U) president Sharad Yadav. Denouncing it as ‘uncalled for,’ Mr. Yadav asked the BJP leader to remember that an electoral alliance was a serious matter.

Mr. Modi is a red rag for Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and the JD (U) that has a substantial minority vote-base in the State. In a sign that he disapproved of Mr. Modi’s politics, Mr. Kumar refused to share a public platform with him in the last Assembly elections in Bihar.

In the run-up to the recent Gujarat Assembly elections and during the ongoing debate on Mr. Modi as a PM candidate, Mr. Kumar has gone on record that the JD (U) would be compelled to reconsider its alliance with the BJP in the event of such a scenario.

It is immediately not clear as to what has prompted Mr. Sinha, who was in the forefront of the campaign against the leadership of Nitin Gadkari, to bat for Mr. Modi at a juncture when the matter is far from settled within the party. M. Venkaiah Naidu, a former BJP president, quickly distanced himself from Mr. Sinha’s suggestion, saying that Mr. Sinha had merely aired his personal views.

Mr. Sinha said, “A debate has been taking place for many days now. When I travel, there is a strong demand from common people and workers that Narendra Modi should be declared as the PM candidate as this will benefit the party.”

“After careful thought, I have concluded that if BJP declares Modi as its PM candidate, then the BJP will benefit hugely in the elections. It will have a big impact on voters. I have no doubt on this,” and asked the JD (U) not to target the Chief Minister but take a decision after careful consideration.

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