NDA in turmoil over Modi as PM

Last Updated: Sun, Feb 03, 2013 16:33 hrs

The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) continued to be rattled over whether or not to pitch Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi with the other NDA partners like Janata Dal (United) expressing reservations over Modi and even slammed the support for his name by the saffron outfit Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP).

BJP president Rajnath Singh however tried to assuage the dissent by informing that any decision on Modi would be taken by the BJP parliamentary board and in any final choice alliance partners would be stakeholders.

"Parliamentary board will decide the matter," said Rajnath Singh and said alliance partners will be part of the decision too in future.

"Parliamentary board is the right place to decide all these," Rajnath Singh said even though Janata Dal (United) slammed the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) decision on Saturday to support Narendra Modi as PM candidate of the anti-UPA.

JD(U) national spokesperson Shivanand Tiwari, said that the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), should decide the prime ministerial candidate of the country. It is not the job of the sadhus or saints, said he.

"Political parties are there to decide who they will project as the prime ministerial candidate for the country. How can Naga sadhus or Akharas [camps of the Hindu monks] take this decision? Where are you taking the politics of this country?" commented Tiwari in Patna referring to VHP support.

"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.

He also asked the media to refrain itself from speculating the prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 polls saying that it is the job of the political parties.

There are reports of Modi soon making a trip to Allahabad where presently the Maha Kumbh is being held with the congregation of thousands of Hindu monks from across India.

Bihar Chief Minister and JD (U) leader Nitish Kumar is known for his objection 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.

But Nitish Kumar on Sunday trashed a report that he had demanded that BJP announce the name of its prime ministerial candidate ahead of the polls.

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.

"Whoever the BJP and the NDA choose for prime minister, we are with them. The common minimum programme of the NDA will be the main programme," party leader and the Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab Sukhbir Singh Badal was quoted as saying.

BJP president Rajnath Singh, who had earlier hinted that Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi may soon play a bigger role in national politics for the party, met the latter on Jan 27 here 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 Janata Dal (United), Rajnath 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.

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