Modi continues to strain BJP-JD-U ties

Patna/Kolkata/New Delhi, April 16 (IANS) The Janata Dal-United (JD-U) Tuesday ruled out a threat to the Nitish Kumar-led coalition government in Bihar even if the BJP walked out, while the latter termed the attack on its leader Narendra Modi as “unfortunate and objectionable”.

“If BJP withdraws its support and ends the 17-year alliance with the JD-U over Modi, the Nitish Kumar government will not fall. The JD-U has adequate numbers to run the government alone,” a senior JD-U leader considered close to Nitish Kumar said in Patna.

The JD-U, with 118 legislators, is just short of a majority on its own in the 243-member house. The BJP has 91 legislators. A JD-U leader, however, said that most of the six Independent legislators are supporting the party and will continue to prop up the Nitish Kumar government.

Other parties include the Rashtriya Janata Dal with 22, Congress with four and the Lok Janshakti Party and the Communist Party of India with one member each.

The JD-U leaders’ remarks came a day after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders in the state said that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, widely tipped to be the party’s prime ministerial candidate, could not be sacrificed for the sake of the alliance.

The BJP leaders were reacting to the JD-U’s indirect attack on Modi a day before in Delhi, when they sought only a secular person as the BJP’s nominee for the top job.

Bihar’s Deputy Chief Minister and senior BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi said: “It was unfortunate and objectionable the way JD-U leaders attacked Narendra Modi.”

His party colleagues too supported Narendra Modi.

“We will not accept such language and tolerate such politics,” Giriraj Singh, a hardcore champion of Hindutva in Bihar, told IANS.

“There is no question of acceptability of BJP minus Modi,” BJP minister Ashwani Kumar Choubey said.

Concerned over the posturing from both sides, the BJP’s core group met in Delhi to take stock of the developing situation while leaders of its Bihar unit set to meet party president Rajnath Singh Thursday over the issue.

In Kolkata, BJP spokesperson Syed Shahnawaz Hussain, an MP from Bihar, played down talks of rift with Janata Dal-United (JD-U).

“The JD-U-BJP coalition government in Bihar is doing well in accordance with the aspirations of the people of the state and at present there is no controversy regarding that coalition,” Hussain said.

Refusing to comment if the BJP will go back to former ally Trinamool Congress, which parted ways from the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) last year, Hussain said there were many parties who want to align with the National Democratic Alliance for the next Lok Sabha polls.

“Only the BJP-led parties have the might to replace this corrupt and inefficient (UPA) government. There are many parties which want to become part of the NDA for the next Lok Sabha polls. We will take a call when the time comes,” he said.

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