New Delhi: The growing rift and war of words with key NDA ally JD(U) on Monday led BJP president Nitin Gadkari to ask all party functionaries and alliance partners to "exercise restraint" while airing views on coalition- related issues.
Gadkari`s statement has come against the backdrop of comments by BJP secretary Balbir Punj against JD(U) today. Punj had said BJP has not outsourced to anybody to define who is secular and Prime Ministerial material in the party.
"BJP is of the opinion that notwithstanding the divergence of opinion in NDA on the issue of the Presidential election, NDA has performed a historic role and shall continue to do so in order to navigate the country out of its present problems," Gadkari said.
He maintained each constituent of NDA "mutually respects" the stand taken by other coalition partners.
"I request all the party functionaries and other friends in NDA to exercise restraint while speaking on NDA-related issues," Gadkari said.
Sources said Gadkari`s statement has come in the wake of strains in relations between JD(U) and BJP. The rift started with the presidential elections when JD(U) batted for a consensus and said it would support UPA candidate Pranab Mukherjee while BJP was firm on contesting the poll.
The chasm widened when Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar attacked his Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi, saying the NDA Prime Ministerial candidate should have secular credentials and be acceptable to all allies.
Amid escalating tensions between the two allies, JD(U) President Sharad Yadav today discussed the issue with Gadkari and the two agreed to cool down tempers.