With JD(U) staying firm in its opposition to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi being made NDA’s Prime Ministerial candidate, BJP president Rajnath Singh on Saturday gave subtle hints that his party is ready to sort out any issues with its “old ally”.
Replying to media queries on JD(U)’s reservations on some key political issues, Mr. Singh said, “It is a very old ally and if there are any issues then we will sit together and find a solution to it.”
This is the first time that BJP has said it is open to negotiations with its ally JD(U). There is a growing chorus within BJP for making Mr. Modi the Prime Ministerial candidate, a proposal which JD(U) is opposed to.
Mr. Singh’s comment show BJP may be open to discussing the Prime Ministerial candidate issue with JD(U) to keep its coalition intact.
At a time when BJP leaders are sending overtures to prospective allies like TMC, AIADMK and BJD, losing a long time ally may not be favoured by many within the ranks.
A section of the BJP top brass is also opposed to Mr. Modi becoming the PM candidate as they fear this will scare away some possible allies. They fancy their own chances in such a scenario.
On its part, JD(U) has made clear that only a “secular” leader would be acceptable for the Prime Ministerial nominee.
It has also emphasised that the PM candidate should be declared before the general elections.
The NDA ally is keeping its political options open with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar saying he will support any formation that gives special category status to his state.
While Mr. Singh has said he considers Mr. Modi a secular leader, he has remained non-committal on who will be the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate.
Mr. Kumar, who is in the national capital for JD(U)’s national executive conclave, may hold a meeting with Mr. Singh later in the day.