New Delhi/Patna: The BJP-JD(U) alliance in Bihar appears to be on the brink of collapse, with reports on Monday saying the latter is expected to call off the marriage in the run-up to the state Assembly polls later this year.
The reports came even as Chief Minister of the ruling alliance in the state, Nitish Kumar said in the morning: "Tension mat lijiye, relax kijiye (don't take tension, relax)."
BJP national president Nitin Gadkari, who has been entrusted with the task of taking a final decision on the alliance, has meanwhile called a meeting of the party's Bihar unit Core Group on Tuesday at 9.00 pm to discuss the issue.
He is expected to seek the views of the state leaders before taking a final call on the alliance.
Gadkari this evening also discussed the issue with NDA working chairman L K Advani and other senior party leaders, including M Venkaiah Naidu. He also met Bihar unit chief C P Thakur, spokesman Shahnawaz Hussain and general secretary (organisation) Ramlal.
"BJP president Nitin Gadkari discussed in detail the political situation in Bihar with our senior leaders. He has decided to call a meeting of party's Bihar unit Core Group tomorrow to discuss the issue. He will take a decision on the matter after this," Hussain told reporters after the meeting.
Advani, who is in favour of the 15-year old alliance continuing in the run-up to the assembly polls, also discussed the developments with Thakur.
BJP is divided on the issue of continuing its alliance with JD(U) as most of the prominent leaders of the party at the Centre and in Bihar feel the coalition should continue.
Advani and his close associates as well as Bihar deputy Chief Minister and BJP leader Sushil Modi are in favour of ties with JD(U).
Modi, who had stayed away from CM Nitish Kumar's Vishwas Yatra yesterday as a mark of protest against the latter's returning Rs 5 crore flood relief money to Narendra Modi government in Gujarat, was seen talking to Kumar at a function in Patna.
"The potter does not want his pot to break," Hussain said hinting that despite differences with JD(U), BJP would like the alliance to continue.
He, however, made it clear that though his party wanted to work with the JD(U) for the development of Bihar, it would not compromise on self-respect.
Kumar too tried not to ruffle any more feathers today. In the face of repeated questions from media persons, he tried to play down the faultlines in the alliance saying, "Relax. Why take tension?"
Sources in both BJP and JD(U) meanwhile said better sense is likely to prevail as snapping ties would harm the prospects of the two parties in the coming Assembly Elections later this year.
"While Nitish Kumar may gain Muslim support in some pockets by breaking its alliance with BJP, this may be nullified by loss of upper caste and other votes in a sizable number of constituencies," a senior BJP leader said.
Relations between JD(U) and BJP, which date back to 1996, were soured during the BJP national executive in Patna when Kumar had objected to an advertisement praising Narendra Modi for giving flood relief to Bihar in 2008.
Kumar had termed this claim as "uncivilised", saying any gesture of help should not be proclaimed publicly.
He had also vociferously objected to another advertisement showing him clasping hands with Modi, the hardline Hindutva face of key ally BJP.
However, since then JD(U) has sent overtures to BJP saying despite the developments of June 12, the alliance would stay intact.
(With PTI inputs)
First Published: Monday, June 21, 2010, 23:50