With the BJP-Janata Dal (United) war of words over “secularism” and Narendra Modi taking a turn for the worse, BJP national president Nitin Gadkari had to step in on Monday to request BJP and NDA leaders to exercise restraint while making statements about each other.
This happened after JD (U) chief and NDA convener Sharad Yadav spoke to Gadkari on Sunday night about a statement by BJP Gujarat in-charge Balbir Punj that the party had not “outsourced” to anyone else the task of deciding who is secular. This was a dig at Nitish Kumar's statement last week that the NDA's PM candidate should be “secular and liberal”, which was seen as a rejection of Modi. Punj also added that Modi was excellent prime ministerial material.
Gadkari said in a statement on Monday: “I request all the party functionaries and other friends in NDA to exercise restraint while speaking on NDA-related issues.” He also sought to project the NDA as a strong, secure alliance: “Notwithstanding the divergence of opinion in the NDA on the issue of the presidential election, the NDA has performed a historic role and shall continue to do so in order to navigate the country out of its present problems.”
Yadav had two days ago asked his party leaders not to pass comments without consulting Nitish Kumar or himself after Shivanand Tiwari obliquely defended Pranab Mukherjee as the finance minister.