Thursday, April 18, 2013

Nitish exit to harm BJP, JD (U) in Bihar

New Delhi: The JD (U) hardliners are saying that Narendra Modi is behaving like a prime minister-in-waiting, and there was no option for Bihar chief minister and party leader Nitish Kumar to sound the warning. The vocal JD (U) leader speaking to DNA on condition of anonymity has however admitted that the only bone of contention between this party and the BJP was Modi and there were no other differences. He said that the JD (U) will not walk out of the alliance and that the ball is in BJP's court. There are also the conciliators in the party. A senior functionary of JD (U) told the DNA that there was no mention of Narendra Modi in the political resolution, and the BJP has over-reacted. “The resolution was in Hindi and the BJP spokespersons Nirmala Seetharaman and and Meenakshi Lekhi did not understand it,” he said. He said the resolution was an attack on the Congress and the UPA and the BJP ignored the text. He was insisting that the text of the political resolution was the basis of the party's stand and it did not refer to Modi in any way. The BJP is certainly in a grim mood. A senior party leader from Bihar said that Nitish Kumar has taken an over-aggressive stand and that he should not have raked up the Modi issue so early. But he said tha Nitish Kumar was the kind of political leader who once he makes up his mind and speaks out, he will not change it. The BJP is clear that Nitish will stick to his anti-Modi stance and there is no scope for reconciliation. “We (the BJP) are aware of the fact that we will be paying a price. But it is not BJP alone that will suffer. Nitish and the JD (U) too will suffer.” He explained that Nitish does not have a monopoly on the Muslim vote in Bihar and that Lalu Prasada Yadav and his Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and Ram Vilas Paswan and his Lok Janshakti Party (LNJP) are competing for the same vote. He has also indicated that the JD (U) could split as well and Sharad Yadav willl not necessarily go with Nitish. He said that the JD (U) will likely play out the fate of Indian socialist parties, continuously splintering and rejoining. The BJP has not yet discussed the Modi-for-PM question, the senior leader said, but it is clear to the top brass that Modi enthuses party cadres as no one does. He also indicated that the BJP would gamble on Modi and hope to get 180 seats. “If we do not have 180 seats, no other party would come to us." The party seems to feel that Modi would be the man who will get the party the magic figure. “The Vajpayee-Advani era is over,” he said and referred to the next phase in the party as the “Modi era”. He said that Nitish, Mulayam, Lalu Yadav cannot hope to become prime ministers, and Deve Gowda was an accident. The BJP will facilitate the emergence of a Most Backward Class (MBC) prime minister in Modi, he said. He conceded that this was still in the realm of speculation because the BJP has not yet taken the decision, but he was drawing up the plausible future scenario and the BJP's thinking about it. It is in this larger context that the BJP feels that the loss of parting ways with Nitish will be compensated by the gains that could accrue from projecting Modi as the potential PM from the MBC segment.

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