Federal front is a good idea
Who initiated the break –up process?
It is a well-known fact. The way the BJP decided to go ahead to elevate Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi as the chairman of the campaign committee of the party was not acceptable to us. We had apprised BJP about our reservations over Modi’s candidature but it was never heeded. So, we decided to take a principled stand to break the ties with BJP.
But the BJP maintains it has not projected Modi as the PM candidate.
Tell me, when the BJP elevated Modi as the campaign committee chief and contest elections showcasing him as a mascot, would somebody else be the PM nominee? This is unbelievable. Besides, the BJP never gave us a public commitment that the Gujarat chief minister would not be the NDA’s PM candidate.
Will the JD (U) gain or lose? The BJP says you disrespected the people’s mandate.
When hard decisions are taken, one does not think of loss or gain. Things fall in place. Right now, we have not applied our mind to gains and losses. As for the BJP’s accusation, I want to reiterate that in 2010, everybody said there was a wave for chief minister Nitish Kumar. So, how have we disrespected the people’s mandate?
Why did the political situation turn so ugly so soon?
We had given a December deadline but it became clear that Narendra Modi, who will be steering the Lok Sabha polls, would be the prime ministerial candidate. We had apprised the BJP about our reservations over Modi’s candidature but it was never heeded. So, we decided to take a principled stand to break the ties with BJP.
Was it a painful decision after a 17-year association?
Of course it was a painful decision. When brothers part ways, it is always a painful experience. After all, both JD(U) and BJP leaders have shared a common bond for a long time, having struggled for a common agenda and even going to jail. It is sad things turned this way.
What is your future strategy without the NDA tag?
Providing good governance, better law and order and inclusive growth will continue to be our priority. We are also not ruling out the idea of a federal front. But it is still in a nascent stage. Though the previous experience of this has not been good, but there is a need to have coalition equidistant from the Congress and the BJP. The initiatives have been taken by West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee.
Sushil Kumar Modi
We’ll not create political crisis
Who initiated the break-up?
The BJP merely took a decision to appoint Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi as chairman of the party’s national campaign committee for 2014 Lok Sabha elections. It is our stated stand that the decision on prime ministerial candidate would be taken later in consultation with the NDA allies. So, the onus of breaking the alliance largely lies on the JD(U). I personally believe the JD(U) should have given more thought to the issue before calling it quits.
But the JD(U) leaders have interpreted Modi’s appointment as a first step before his declaration as prime ministerial candidate.
This is jumping the gun. Our senior leaders assured the JD(U) leadership, including NDA convenor Sharad Yadav, that the prime ministerial candidate would be decided upon later. The JD(U) was determined to snap ties and they just wanted to put the onus on the BJP. It is public posturing.
Do you think the BJP would gain from this break?
It is a betrayal of the mandate given by the people of Bihar. The people had voted largely in favour of the NDA. We visited at least 70 constituencies while Nitish Kumar too campaigned intensively. The people lapped it up, disenchanted with the poor governance of the erstwhile RJD for 15 years. It would be political dishonesty to claim the vote was for one party or the other.
Why did the political situation turn so ugly when the JD(U) had set a December deadline for a decision?
The sudden change of JD(U)’s stance is intriguing for us too. There was no hurry to take this extreme decision when there is at least a year left for the Lok Sabha elections. Moreover, they first dubbed the appointment of Narendra Modi as “internal matter” of the BJP, since there has been no decision on the prime ministerial candidate. But what transpired thereafter to take such a drastic step is still a mystery.
Was it painful to part company with such an old ally?
It is painful to end an alliance which was working very well as per the people’s hopes and aspirations. It is the saddest day for the state and its people. We still are in favour continuing the alliance in the larger interest of the state.
What would be your strategy for the future?
We are a disciplined party. So, we will not create any political crisis in Bihar. Our goal is to prepare for the 2014 elections and better our performance. We are ready for any eventuality.