JD(U) national meet likely to indicate opposition to Narendra Modi



New Delhi: Amid strong reservations within the party over Narendra Modi's much-speculated projection as BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate, the two-day national meet of JD-U beginning here tomorrow is set to bring the spotlight back on NDA's next candidate for the top post.

The national executive and national council meeting of JD(U) will also see a formal announcement of Sharad Yadav as the party's President for a third consecutive time.

The Constitution of JD-U was amended on March 5 to provide a third term to Yadav who had first become its chief in 2006 replacing George Fernandes.

JD-U, whose antipathy to Narendra Modi is well-known, is likely to make a strong demand for early projection of the next Prime Ministerial candidate of the alliance and emphasise its commitment to secularism ahead of Lok Sabha elections.

Though party leaders have remained tight-lipped about the contents of the political resolution to be passed at the meeting, there is a likelihood that the party refrains from naming Modi in it but making its reservations against his candidature more than clear.

There are indications that the party leaders will vehemently oppose projection of the Gujarat Chief Minister for the top job.

Rajya Sabha MP from JD-U Ali Anwar Ansari said "it is the old stand of the party that some secular leader should be projected as Prime Minister of NDA, a leader, who is acceptable to all and who believes in taking all sections together. It should be announced before the polls, who will be NDA's Prime Ministerial candidate."

Congress leader from Bihar Shakeel Ahmed, however, mocked at JD(U)'s "secular search" saying "if somebody is searching for secular leader and says no to Narendra Modi but yes to L K Advani, it makes no sense."

"Modi is the symptom of the disease (of communalism) that Atal Behari Vajpayee and Advani had spread," he said.

JD(U) President Sharad Yadav had yesterday evaded a direct reply on whether the party will oppose the projection of Modi. "We had never compromised on the issue of secularism nor will we do now," he said.

He was asked whether secular credentials of NDA's next Prime Ministerial candidate will be an important issue to be discussed at the JD(U) meet.

On whether the party will discuss the issue of Modi's increased projection in BJP, he had said "there is no bar on any issue. Everything can be discussed. Sky is the limit as far discussing issues is concerned.

There has been unease in JD(U) over Modi and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, who runs a coalition government with BJP, has been a known critic of Modi.

A sizeable section in JD-U believes that parting of ways with BJP will be unavoidable if Modi is projected a Prime Ministerial candidate in Lok Sabha polls.

PTI