The BJP and the JD(U) could possibly be heading for a showdown before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections over projection of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi as the prime ministerial candidate.
While JD (U) president Sharad Yadav has favoured L K Advani as NDA's prime ministerial candidate for the next general elections, the state BJP has decided to invite Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi to address party's 'Hunkar rally' to be held in Patna on March 15 next year. Yadav, who is NDA convenor, supported Advani, saying that the history of the country showed that the elderly leaders generally became prime minister of the country and Advani was a senior and experienced person.
What I mean is that unless a politician is the son of some big leader, he is generally not well recognised among the masses before he turns 60-65. Leaders like Atal Behari Vajpayee and L K Advani were elected to lead the NDA twice. However, neither the BJP nor the NDA has decided who will be the NDA's prime ministerial candidate," he said.
Referring to the issue of "generation change' in political parties, Yadav said, "flowers, which grow in pots fade fast unlike those growing in the
farm. It is the crop that grows in farm, which can feed the hungry and not the plants growing in pots."
Yadav's remark has created a flutter in BJP circles at the national as well as the state level, particularly among a section of BJP leaders, who stand by
Narendra Modi as the most suitable candidate for the post of the prime minister. Bihar BJP president Dr C P Thakur, meanwhile, categorically stated that the party had decided to invite Narendra Modi and several other top party leaders for the March 15 rally in view of his rising political stature in the party and the country.
"We will invite Narendra Modi to address the rally. It is another matter whether he will attend the rally or not. If he wishes to come, no one can stop
him," Thakur said in reference to the likely objections of Nitish Kumar and the JD(U).
Kumar had earlier said that it would not take him a minute to break ties with the BJP if it projected Modi as its prime ministerial candidate. Just before the state assembly polls, Kumar had objected to his photographs with Modi in newspaper advertisements during the BJP national executive meeting in Patna in June 2010.
Several JD(U) leaders had then demanded that the Gujarat chief minister should not campaign in the state assembly polls.
After Nitish Kumar’s reported aversion towards projection of Modi and his strong pitch for a ‘secular’ PM candidate for NDA, the anti-JD(U) tone in the BJP has reached a fever pitch.
In fact, the BJP has been trying to match the JD(U) step by step and word by word to maintain its independent identity in case the differences led to separation.
Though the ‘Hunkar rally’ is ostensibly aimed at stirring up the grassroots workers, it is being considered as an answer to the ‘Adhikar rally’ being organised by the JD(U) on November 4 in support of the demand for special category status to Bihar.
“People should not read much into the proposed rally and the decision to invite Narendra Modi. It should not be made an issue. The main agenda of the rally is special status for Bihar besides development of Bihar and others. We have also made equal efforts for the development of the state,” Thakur said.
The state BJP has been gearing up for a life without the JD(U) by bracing itself to contest all 40 Lok Sabha seats in Bihar, should the alliance fail to take off at some stage. It has been holding workers’ camp at panchayat level in an organised manner to face any eventuality in future.
“We don’t want to be short on preparation to contest any parliamentary seats, should the scenario change suddenly,” Thakur has said.