“The alliance should work as it has been for 17 years — by consensus and consultation”

“For its campaign committee, the Bharatiya Janata Party can choose anyone it likes. It is the party’s internal matter. But when it comes the National Democratic Alliance, only a person who is acceptable can lead the alliance,” Janata Dal (United) president Sharad Yadav told The Hindu here in response to the developments in the BJP during its National Executive in Goa.

Mr. Yadav, who is the convener of the NDA, said that the alliance had been together for 17 years. It had carved out a common national programme by consensus which had kept out controversial items on BJP’s agenda (such as Ram temple in Ayodhya, Article 370 and the Uniform Civil Code).

“Consensus as usual”

“The alliance should work as it has been for 17 years — by consensus and consultation. As far as the BJP’s national executive is concerned, it is the party’s internal matter,” he said.

Mr. Yadav’s response is a clear indication that even if Mr. Modi is anointed as head of the BJP’s campaign committee, chances of his elevation to lead the NDA are dim.

“Such a person has to be acceptable [to all allies],” he said.

In his “adhikar rally” in March, Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar had declared that his party’s support would be crucial for the formation of the next government at the Centre and that the party would not be averse to other tie-ups.

Of course, the JD(U)’s recent defeat in Maharajganj by-election may have dampened the high spirits of the party but it looks like it is still a “no-no” for Narendra Modi.

In the past, Mr. Kumar had kept out the Gujarat Chief Minister from campaigning for the alliance in Bihar.