Friday, July 6, 2012

Quoting Vajpayee, JD (U) brings NDA to breaking point

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar said the NDA’s prime ministerial candidate
should be one with secular credentials — a clear message that he was not in favour of the
alliance choosing Narendra Modi as its nominee
The BJP said the party did not need a certificate on secularism from anyone
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat hit out at Nitish. He said Hinduism was “all-inclusive” and
that there was no reason why a “Hinduwadi” should not be prime minister
Shivanand Tiwari, JD(U) general secretary, said NDA cannot come to power with a
fanatic face. He said AB Vajpayee wanted to sack Modi
Party says Atal wanted to sack Narendra Modi after 2002; Nitish willing to walk
out of coalition if BJP opts for Guj CM as its candidate for PM
The gloves are off. The JD(U) has warned the BJP that it would march out of the
coalition the moment the party thought of projecting Gujarat chief minister (CM)
Narendra Modi as its prime ministerial candidate. A day after Bihar CM Nitish Kumar
insisted that the BJP should choose a secular face to lead the party in the 2014 polls,
there was further deterioration in the relations between the two parties, which are
together ruling Bihar at present.
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on Wednesday defended both Modi and Hindutva.
Addressing RSS volunteers in Latur, Bhagwat said: “Nitish Kumar has said that the
NDA’s prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 elections should be secular. He has made
the statement so that his vote bank remains intact.”
His comments have deepened the divide between the two warring NDA
constituents with Nitish’s confidante and JD(U) spokesperson Shivanand Tewari
emphasising that former prime minister AB Vajpayee wanted to sack Modi after the post-
Godhra riots in 2002. The bitter acrimony affected the coalition discussions on the
presidential nominee. BJP leaders have kept quiet as they do not want to add fuel to the
fire. It is clear that the NDA is struggling to give a coherent shape to its quest for a
presidential candidate.
Already, the Shiv Sena has jilted its partner, saying its decision to vote for UPA
nominee Pranab Mukherjee does not, in any way, reflect larger incompatibility issues.
The belligerent JD(U) has been reluctant to vote for any nominee and has been
demanding consensus on Mukherjee. The BJP believes it is being thwarted in its efforts
to reach out to probable allies, the Biju Janata Dal and the AIADMK. The focus has now
shifted on who the BJP’s prime ministerial nominee would be after Nitish spoke out in an interview to a newspaper.
The BJP has been hoping to postpone making such an announcement because the
party understands the difficulty of going with Modi at this stage. That will definitely
alienate the anti-Modi middle rung in the party and the BJP hierarchy will be in utter
disarray. The party plans to approach the 2014 polls under the dual leadership of Nitin
Gadkari and Modi and will not want to precipitate a crisis by projecting anybody as its
prime minister at the moment.
Bhagwat’s meeting was out of bounds for the media, but according to those
present, the RSS chief stressed that Hinduism was “all-inclusive”. He even said that there
was no reason why a “Hinduwadi” should not be prime minister. He was quoted as
having said: “Hinduism is a broad philosophy which propagates humanism.” He also said
that it was accommodative of different points of view. It was obvious that Bhagwat was
backing Modi.
Nitish’s outburst on Tuesday was waiting to happen. The recent rise of Modi and
the party’s abject surrender to him by having the Gujarat CM’s bête noire Sanjay Joshi
removed had been witnessed by the likes of Nitish with a degree of discomfiture. It has
taken time for Nitish to wean away the Muslim support from a secular leader like Lalu
Prasad Yadav. He does not want to give up the advantage which he enjoys in Bihar after
a tremendous electoral effort.