Bharatiya Janata Party veteran LK Advani’s exit has not only snatched the limelight off Narendra Modi’s leap into prominence at Goa but also made Janata Dal (United) rethink about staying with the National Democratic Alliance for the 2014 polls.
Political observers feel the BJP may suddenly find itself on a losing ground against the Congress if the JD(U) ducks out of the alliance in the aftermath of Advani’s exit. Some are even terming the BJP patriarch’s quitting from all party posts as the final nail in the 17-year-old ties between the two parties.
Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar has said that he would discuss the developments in the BJP to chalk out a future course of action. Kumar’s statement that he has "taken note of all the news reports and will present the party’s stand soon", is very significant, especially when read in context with JD(U) president Sharad Yadav’s terming Advani exit as a "serious issue, not good for NDA health because the alliance was forged with the help of Advani and Atalji."
At its national executive meeting held in Delhi this April, the JD(U) had set a December deadline for the BJP to declare its prime ministerial candidate. On Sunday, it reacted cautiously to Modi’s elevation, terming it an "internal matter" of the BJP. But, after Advani’s absence from the Goa meet and his exit a day after Narendra Modi’s coronation, things might not got well for the alliance.
Media reports have quoted JD(U) spokesman Shivanand Tiwari as saying that Advani had been responsible for taking the BJP to greater heights over the years. But, the new crop of leaders at the helm of BJP affairs had no respect for the contributions and seniority of a leader of Advani’s stature.
"We have taken note of the inherent meanings implied in it and will discuss it within the party," Nitish said on Monday, adding "We will soon come out with our stand after examining all issues. But we will choose the time to declare our stand."
JD-U sources, however, indicate a hard decision now. Party leaders said that the ascendancy of Modi at the cost of Advani in the BJP augured ill for the alliance. A senior party leader said that unlike Modi, Advani was acceptable as a leader to all the allies within the NDA.
He said that Nitish had even shared the dais with the BJP patriarch during the Lok Sabha poll campaign in 2009. "One may or may not agree with his views but nobody can undermine the importance and stature of Advaniji in public life," said a JD(U) leader.
JD(U) leaders also believe that it was because of Advani that Nitish had remained in the NDA so far. They said that it was Advani who had invited Nitish to forge an alliance with the BJP during his party’s national executive in Mumbai in 1995.