‘Will decide on prime ministerial nominee at appropriate time’

Building a Ram temple is not on the agenda of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), its convener and Janata Dal (United) president Sharad Yadav said at a press conference here on Friday.

The NDA had nothing to do with BJP president Rajnath Singh’s statement at the Kumbh in Allahabad early this week that his party was committed to building a Ram temple at Ayodhya, Mr. Yadav said.

He pointed out that the BJP kept in abeyance its main demands — building a Ram temple, abrogation of Article 370 and implementation of a uniform civil code — as part of the Common Minimum Programme adopted by the NDA.

NDA constituents such as the JD(U) are uneasy over the BJP’s renewed commitment to build a Ram temple. The recent meeting of the RSS brass with leaders of the BJP and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad is seen as an attempt by the Sangh Parivar to pressure the BJP to restore Hindutva as its main plank.

The revival of the Ram temple issue, along with the demand from the rank and file of various Sangh Parivar outfits for projecting Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate in the 2014 general election, strengthens the apprehensions among the BJP allies.

Mr. Yadav deprecated the debate on the prime ministerial candidate, reiterating that the NDA would take a call on it at the appropriate time.

“A search is on in such a way that it looks like a research for a nuclear bomb. The search… should stop. There are 540 seats in the Lok Sabha, and the NDA has never said we have decided upon a candidate, nor have we discussed it. We will decide on this at an appropriate time. The BJP will put forth its view, we will put forth our view, and then it will be decided,” Mr. Yadav said.

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