BJP on Friday emphasised that it wanted its alliance with JD(U) to continue, saying it was needed for opposition unity.
Back-channel confabulations between top brass of BJP and JD(U) are on since Wednesday to save the alliance which has been shaky since Gujarat Chief Minister was anointed head of BJP election campaign committee.
Sources said while BJP is firm that this decision — which is the bone of contention between the two parties — is non-negotiable, it is making all efforts to convince JD(U) that the alliance is needed.
BJP’s efforts come in the backdrop of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar indicating that he may break away from NDA while seeking to blame the right-wing party for it.
Leader of the Opposition in Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, who along with L.K. Advani was against Mr. Modi’s elevation, tweeted on the need for saving the alliance.
“Only a united opposition can defeat Congress. Whenever opposition got united, Congress was defeated. Therefore, NDA’s unity is a historical necessity. We must do everything to keep NDA united,” Ms. Swaraj said on micro-blogging site Twitter.
JD(U) is opposed to Mr. Modi being made the NDA’s Prime Ministerial candidate, a view Ms. Swaraj and Mr. Advani reportedly concur with.
BJP leaders maintained that no assurance has been given to JD(U) on the Prime Ministerial candidate issue but all attempts are being made to save the alliance.
“The people of Bihar have given a mandate to the JD(U)-BJP alliance. We would like to honour that mandate. All efforts are being made to keep the alliance intact,” BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said.
Asked about Mr. Kumar’s barb aimed at BJP when he said ‘Dua dete hain jeene ki, dawa karte hain marne ki’ (they wish for your life but give you poison), she refused to read “between the lines” on the issue.
“We want to take every step to keep the alliance intact,” Ms. Sitharaman said.