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JD(U)’s clear message to BJP: ‘No’ to Modi

B. Muralidhar Reddy
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But it will not align with “enemy” Congress at the cost of “friend” Bharatiya Janata Party

JD(U) president Sharad Yadav (right) and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar during the party’s national executive meeting in New Delhi on Saturday.— Photo: R.V. Moorthy
JD(U) president Sharad Yadav (right) and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar during the party’s national executive meeting in New Delhi on Saturday.— Photo: R.V. Moorthy

Prime ministerial aspirants within the BJP, facing the formidable Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, have reasons to cheer. One of the party’s key allies, the Janata Dal (United), has made it clear that support to Mr. Modi would compromise its ‘secular commitment.’

Though issues related to the coming Lok Sabha elections, including the desirable qualifications to become the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate, would be formally discussed at the party’s plenary when the draft political resolution is debated, the unambiguous message to the BJP on the opening day of the JD(U) national executive meeting was that it had to abide by the “coalition dharma” of consensus and accommodative politics.

There were three unambiguous messages, all aimed at the BJP, on the first day of the two-day conclave where the JD(U) president Sharad Yadav was re-elected: the JD(U) could not reconcile itself to the prospect of Mr. Modi being at the helm of affairs, after his failure to check the 2002 communal riots and their aftermath in Gujarat; the BJP should continue to put contentious issues like the Ram Temple, abrogation of Article 370 and enforcement of a uniform civil code on hold; the JD(U) believes that the BJP, as the single largest party in the NDA, should lead the poll campaign.

It was also made known that Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had no intention whatsoever of becoming the Prime Minister if the NDA were to be in a position to form the government.

A clearer picture on whether the JD(U) would insist that the BJP name its prime ministerial candidate well ahead of the 2014 general election would emerge at the end of the debate on the draft political resolution. Indications are that the party may not put a timeline on when it expects the BJP to name its PM candidate.

At a news conference here, senior JD(U) leader K.C. Tyagi ruled out aligning with “enemy” Congress at the cost of “friend” BJP. The manner in which the Congress had brought down Central governments dependent on its support in the past did not inspire confidence in the party.

“As long as the Parliamentary Board of the BJP does not categorically say who its prime ministerial candidate is, why should we talk about it?” Mr. Tyagi said in response to a question.

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