Special Correspondent

Bangalore: Bharatiya Janata Party leader M. Venkaiah Naidu on Wednesday declined to join issue with State Janata Dal (Secular) president Merjauddin Patel on the latter’s criticism of the party.

“We do not want to join issue as per the norms of coalition dharma,” Mr. Naidu told a press conference here.

On the claims of Mr. Patel that the much publicised programmes such as Bhagyalakshmi and Bicycle schemes were not the Bharatiya Janata Party’s but that of the Janata Dal (Secular), Mr. Naidu said, “these schemes are that of the coalition Government that comprises the Janata Dal (Secular) and the BJP. The credit for implementing them should go to the coalition Government.”

Referring to the reported charge that the Janata Dal (Secular) had felt that its secular image had taken a beating after joining hands with the BJP, Mr. Naidu said, “We (BJP) are the most secular party in the country. We do not need a certificate from others on our secular credentials.”