Contradictory statements from NDA leaders

The consistent endorsement of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as a capable candidate for the Prime Ministerial post by Bharatiya Janata Party leaders has ruffled many a feather in Bihar, as political leaders from different camps scrambled for clarity.Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s party Janata Dal (United) runs a coalition government in Bihar with the BJP. While Mr. Kumar’s rift with Mr. Modi is well known, his statement calling for a “secular” Prime Ministerial candidate is being read as his opposition to Mr. Modi’s candidature.“The senior leaders of the BJP should first decide whom they wish to project as PM,” JD (U)’s chief spokesperson Sanjay Singh told The Hindu on Tuesday. “Is it L.K. Advani or Arun Jaitley or Narendra Modi or Sushma Swaraj. BJP leaders are making statements on the one hand while the National Democratic Alliance says it would take a decision [jointly],” he remarked.The comment comes in the context of BJP leader Sushma Swaraj’s statement in Gujarat recently that Mr. Modi was fit for the post of Prime Minister.Meanwhile, Opposition leaders in Bihar put the ball in Mr. Kumar’s court calling upon him to state his position vis-à-vis the BJP.

“Now that BJP leaders have backed Mr. Modi, Mr. Kumar, who had said he wanted a secular candidate, should clarify whether he still wants to retain his association with the BJP,”

Mr. Paswan told a press conference here on Tuesday.A day earlier, Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad Yadav also made the same demand, stepping up pressure on Mr. Kumar to clear the air.