Amid indications that key ally Janata Dal (United) may pull out of National Democratic Alliance, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday said both parties should respect the voters of Bihar who elected the Nitish Kumar-led coalition government in the state twice to power.
BJP leaders said the party is clear that it will not take any step that would precipitate the break-up with JD(U) which has been giving strong feelers that it wants to walk out of NDA before the next general elections.
NDA Working Chairperson L K Advani on Wednesday called up JD (U) president Sharad Yadav and Mr. Kumar to impress upon them that the alliance between the two parties should continue. The JD (U) has been a part of NDA since its inception.
Asked about the status of the BJP-JD (U) alliance, BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said, “10.5 crore people and 21 crore eyes of Bihar are looking at this alliance with hope.
The voters of Bihar had not voted for any one party or leader but for the JD(U)-BJP alliance.”
He maintained that the continuation of this alliance will benefit the state and the parties should not betray the voters’ trust by breaking the tie-up.
The posturing by JD (U) has not come as a surprise for BJP. The anointment of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the head of the BJP Election Campaign Committee — which many see as a virtual declaration of the leader as the party’s Prime Ministerial candidate — has annoyed JD (U).
The Bihar Chief Minister, who is wooing the sizable minority vote-bank in Bihar, feels Mr. Modi’s Hindutva hardliner image as a deterrant. He has given enough hints to the BJP to declare the Prime Ministerial candidate and also said the candidate should have secular credentials.
For the record, JD (U) has said Mr. Modi’s appointment as head of the campaign committee is an internal matter of BJP.
BJP sources said the party does not want to be seen as the one initiating the break-up and efforts are still on to keep the coalition intact.