Even as the alliance between the BJP and Janata Dal (United) seemed headed for a breakdown, senior BJP leader and Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj said on Friday that all efforts should be made to preserve the NDA.
"Only a united opposition can defeat the Congress. Whenever opposition got united Congress was defeated," Swaraj tweeted about 5 pm. "Therefore, NDA's unity is a historical necessity. We must do everything to keep NDA united."
Some read in the tweet a subtle message on the adverse impact of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi's rapid rise at the national stage on the BJP's ability to attract allies. Swaraj - seen as close to party patriarch LK Advani - had accompanied BJP chief Rajnath Singh when he had announced Modi's appointment as national campaign chief of the BJP, but wasn't seen as too enthusiastic about Modi's elevation.
Swaraj's statement comes after hectic parleys within the alliance. BJP leaders LK Advani, Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Murli Manohar Joshi and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi have been in touch with JD(U) leaders Nitish Kumar and Sharad Yadav over the last there days.
Little, however, has emerged from these talks and BJP leaders in Bihar predict that the alliance may be off as early as Sunday or Monday.
Soon after Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar sarcastically cited an Urdu couplet that the BJP was articulating good wishes for a long life but administering medicine that would ensure death, BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain gave him a poetic reply.
"Hum dua bhi dete hain aur dawa bhi dete hain; par jisko dost kehte hain use kabhi dagha nahin dete hain (We offer both wishes and medicine. But we never ditch our friends)," Hussain said, subtly suggesting that any snapping of the alliance would be Nitish's "deceit" on its alliance partner of 17 years.