Refuting reports that he had assured Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar that Narendra Modi would not be projected as Prime Minister's candidate, former BJP president Nitin Gadkari said that the meeting took place in in July 2012 to review the NDA strategy and the ongoing political situation in the country.
Reports appeared in newspapers quoting sources close to Kumar saying on Wednesday that Gadkari had indeed given the Bihar CM such assurance at a meeting during his presidency of the BJP.
The sources claimed that Gadkari assured Kumar when the Bihar CM showed discomfort towards the idea of projecting Modi as NDA's prime ministerial candidate for 2014.
"Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had met the then BJP President Nitin Gadkari in New Delhi sometime in July 2012. The meeting had taken place at the residence of the Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Shri Arun Jaitley. The three leaders had reviewed the political situation in the country and discussed the NDA strategy for the next general elections due in 2014," said a statement issued by Gadkari's office.
"Kumar had raised the issue of the prospective NDA leader for the Lok Sabha polls. Both Gadkari and Jaitley had told Kumar that the BJP had not taken a decision on projecting anyone as its prime ministerial candidate.
"On whether the BJP would project someone before the elections or elect the NDA leader after the polls, too, would be taken up by the party leadership at the appropriate time and a decision would be taken in consultation with the NDA allies," the statement said.
Gadkari ruled out giving any assurance to Kumar that Modi would not be projected as the prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 general elections. (ANI)