JD(U) will spell out its stand soon, says Nitish

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The Janata Dal (United), a key constituent of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, will soon discuss the developments in the BJP to craft its stand, Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said on Monday.

The ties between the two parties, which run a coalition government in Bihar, have come under strain with Mr. Kumar’s opposition to his Gujarat counterpart, Narendra Modi, being projected as the BJP’s prime ministerial candidate. Mr. Modi was made head of the party’s election campaign committee at the national executive in Goa on Sunday.

Asked about Mr. Modi’s elevation, Mr. Kumar told reporters here that the JD(U) was keenly watching the developments in the BJP. “We have taken note of all the news reports. Our party leadership will discuss these developments, formulate an opinion and come out with an appropriate response. After deliberations, we will present our stand …”

His remarks came just before senior leader L.K. Advani resigned from top positions in the BJP.

Asked whether he would set a time frame for the JD(U) to clarify its position, Mr. Kumar said the response would come “soon.”

At its national executive meeting held in Delhi this April, the JD(U) set a December deadline for the BJP to declare its prime ministerial candidate. On Sunday, it reacted cautiously to Mr. Modi’s elevation, terming it an “internal matter” of the BJP.

Mr. Kumar denied reports that BJP president Rajnath Singh had called him up before the party’s national executive meeting started in Goa.

As for the JD (U)’s defeat in the Maharajganj Lok Sabha seat, he said the party would make a booth-wise assessment.

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