A three-hour meeting between leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party's Bihar unit with national head Rajnath Singh ended with a decision that it would not weaken the alliance in the state with the Janata Dal (United) but would work to strengthen the party's base.
This comes in the backdrop of the mounting tension and hot words exchanged recently between the two parties, on the likely choice of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, a polarising figure, as the Prime Ministerial choice of the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance in the 2014 general election.
Bihar has been ruled since end-2005 by a JD(U)-BJP coalition. They had together contested the 2005 and 2010 state assembly polls.
BJP seniors feel there is no reason to decide in haste on the choice for PM. However, they are also clear that the party should be ready to contest the elections on its own if Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar decides to break the alliance.
"The Bihar leadership has asked the national leadership to decide on the alliance with the JD(U) as the situation develops in the state," said Syed Shahnawaz Hussain, party spokesman, after the meeting. "We will not make any attempt to weaken the alliance. The BJP president has asked leaders from Bihar to strengthen the party in the state."
Kumar is unhappy with the BJP for promoting Modi as the most popular leader of the party. He and the JD(U) have asked for the BJP to decide on the PM candidate of the NDA by December. And, both have made it clear that they cannot support Modi in this regard.
The state BJP is divided on continuing with the JD(U) alliance, and some members who are supporters of Modi want the central leadership to break the alliance. However, the latter doesn't want to take a decision till the conclusion of elections in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan. "The alliance between the BJP and the JD(U) in Bihar is working for the benefit of people. The BJP will make efforts to strengthen the NDA," Hussain added.