JD(U) ready to shake hands with Congress post BJP split?
Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: Amid clear indications that the JD(U) is very close to quitting the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) following the elevation of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as BJP's 2014 election campaign committee chief, Nitish Kumar's party has hinted that it may forge an alliance with the Congress if the state is granted backward status.
An indication to this effect was given by JD(U) spokesperson Rajeev Ranjan who said that the party was not averse to supporting the Congress if the UPA government at the Centre grants Bihar backward state status.
"In politics, all possibilities are open. Right now we are a part of the NDA and our first priority is to take a decision on this alliance," Ranjan was quoted as saying by a news channel.
The remarks came even as there was talk of a 'federal front' involving Nitish Kumar's JD(U), Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress and Naveen Patnaik's BJD. West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee yesterday rang up her Bihar and Odisha counterparts to discuss the same.
Also yesterday, BJP leader LK Advani spoke to JD(U) leaders Nitish Kumar and Sharad Yadav in a bid to convince them not to end the alliance with the BJP. The Bihar leaders are reported to have told Advani that they are ready to sit in the opposition.
Advani's calls came amid remarks by JD(U) leaders that the alliance with the BJP could be over soon.
"Only a formal announcement is to be made for snapping ties with the BJP," said the leader, considered close to Nitish Kumar.
"Till late yesterday (Tuesday) night, a number of party leaders, including ministers, held discussions with Nitish Kumar at his official residence. It was decided to formally announce the end of ties with the BJP in next two to three days," said the leader, who did not want to be named.
Another party leader said JD(U) president Sharad Yadav will arrive in Patna by Thursday or Friday for consultations with party leaders before a formal decision is made public.
JD(U) leader and Bihar minister Shayam Razak said that his party was discussing the issue in view of developments at the BJP conclave in Goa and later in Delhi.
He was referring to the prominent role given to Modi for the 2014 polls and Advani's decision first to resign from his all party posts, and later to stay on bowing to pressure from the party.
Bihar Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh categorically said Modi was not acceptable to his party as the NDA's prime ministerial candidate.
"We are against being part of the NDA under his leadership," said Singh.
He said Modi was tainted by his involvement in 2002 Gujarat riots, and Advani was more preferred.