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HindustanTimes Wed,16 Apr 2014

PM candidate in 2014 polls: Nitish seeks BJP's assurance against Modi

PTI  New Delhi, August 05, 2012
First Published: 14:08 IST(5/8/2012) | Last Updated: 16:54 IST(5/8/2012)

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has sought an assurance from the BJP that his Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi will not be NDA's prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 general elections.

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Kumar made this clear to BJP President Nitin Gadkari when he met him during the oath taking ceremony of Pranab Mukherjee as President last month, sources close to the Bihar chief minister said.

The sources said Gadkari had told Kumar that BJP has not discussed who would be its nominee for PM's post in 2014 Parliamentary polls and would definitely consult all NDA allies while finalising a name.

Sources added that the senior JD(U) leader told the BJP President that general elections are nearing as only one-and-half year is left, so it would be better if NDA finalises its nominee for the top post and insisted that Modi should not be chosen.

JD(U) with 29 MPs in Parliament is the second largest coalition partner of the NDA after BJP.

Kumar in a recent interview had said that NDA Prime Ministerial candidate should have secular credentials which was seen as his clear reservation over Modi's nomination for the post.

Nitish and Modi, the two top NDA leaders are not on good terms. The Bihar chief minister, who enjoys strong support of Muslims, did not allow Modi to campaign both in 2005 Assembly elections as well as in 2010 polls.

Modi had twice tried to show that he and Kumar are not on bad terms by reaching him first at a NDA rally at Ludhiana during last general elections and recently at a CM's meet in Delhi.

But Modi's overtures did not end Kumar's opposition to him.

Sources in JD(U) said that if the BJP decides to go with Modi for the PM's post in 2014 elections, Kumar would have no hesitation in going Naveen Patnaik's way -- snapping ties with BJP in Bihar.

JD(U) with 117 MLAs in a House of 243-member Bihar Assembly where the magic figure is 122, would not have much problem in running the government alone or with the help of Independents and other smaller parties.

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