Janata Dal (United) slams VHP support for Narendra Modi, says sadhus can’t decide PM candidate

PTI, 04-02-2013 03:24:49

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New Delhi: The BJP’s allies remain as much a

 divided house as the party itself on whether Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi should be their prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 elections.

Janata Dal (United) national spokesperson Shivanand Tiwari, in an apparent dig at the Vishwa Hindu Parishad for supporting Mr Modi, has said that political parties, and not sadhus, would decide the prime ministerial candidate of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

"Political parties are to decide who they will project as the prime ministerial candidate in the election campaign. How can sadhus take this decision? Where are you taking the politics of this country?" said Mr Tiwari in Patna yesterday.

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," Mr Tiwari said. He asked the media to stop speculating on Mr Modi’s candidature.

Mr Modi is not acceptable to the JD(U), with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar having said earlier that the NDA’s prime ministerial candidate should be a "secular face" - a hint to the riots that swept Mr Modi’s state in 2002.

The Shiv Sena, which recently said that the NDA should not delay declaring its prime ministerial candidate, is thought to favour BJP’s Sushma Swaraj for the post, in line with the wishes of its founder Bal Thackeray, who died last year.

The Shiromani Akali Dal (Badal), another BJP ally, is for now not insistent 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," said Sukhbir Singh Badal, party leader and the Deputy Chief Minister of Punjab.

The BJP’s new president, Rajnath Singh, has hinted at a "bigger role" for Mr Modi in the run-up to the 2014 general elections. The Gujarat chief minister also has the support of BJP leader Yashwant Sinha, who says Mr Modi’s immense popularity makes him an ideal candidate for prime minister. But the party has many more contenders for the post and is treading cautiously on the issue.

Comments on this Article
Jossey Saldanha, Mangalore/Mapusa/Mumbai Mon, February-4-2013, 1:07
Headless party.........
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