Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Rajnath Singh on Monday asked party members not to comment on the issue of the party's prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.
"I am urging all my party leaders and workers not to speculate or give any statement on BJP´s PM candidate," Singh said while addressing a press conference on Monday.
"I have earlier said that it has been the tradition of the BJP that whether it is the chief ministerial candidate or the prime ministerial candidate, the Central Parliamentary Board takes a final call on the mater. We should not speculate on it," he said.
Singh made the comments days after the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) ally Janata Dal (United) slammed the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) on Saturday for supporting Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as PM candidate of the anti-UPA coalition amid the ongoing conflicts within the allies over the choice of Modi by the BJP.
"Political parties are there to decide who they will project as the prime ministerial candidate for the country. How can sadhus take this decision? Where are you taking the politics of this country?" JD(U) national spokesperson Shivanand Tiwari said in Patna.
"The BJP is the largest partner of the NDA. So the prime ministerial candidate will be from it, and this will be decided after discussions within the coalition," Tiwari said.
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar reportedly objected to the selection of Modi as the candidate for the post of PM saying that the NDA´s prime ministerial candidate should be a "secular face", clearly referring to the alleged role of Modi in the Gujarat riots in 2002.
The Shiv Sena, which recently stated that the NDA should not delay in declaring its prime ministerial candidate, is considered to favour BJP´s Sushma Swaraj for the post, following the wishes of its founder Bal Thackeray, who died last year.
The Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), another BJP ally, on the other hand is not presently keen on any particular candidate.
Rajnath Singh, who had earlier hinted that Modi may soon play a bigger role in national politics for the party, met the latter on Jan 27 and discussed poll issues.
With Modi tipped to be a strong contender to emerge as BJP´s prime ministerial candidate for the next year´s polls despite objections from many NDA allies like the JD(U), Singh acknowledged his importance and earlier said none can deny the popularity of Modi now.
However, BJP leaders like Ram Jethmalani and Yashwant Sinha openly rooted for Modi as their Prime Ministerial pitch.