A mention of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi once again threatened to throw BJP-JD(U) alliance off the gear, but leaders in both parties chose to play the controversy down by Monday evening.
Responding to a question on whether Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi would campaign for the BJP in the Bihar polls, senior leader Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi created a flutter when he said early on Monday: “Narendra Modi is a senior leader. Definitely he will campaign.” He was fielding questions by reporters on the Bihar poll preparations.
The question was a pointed one on Modi, Naqvi’s was elaborating in his statement that senior BJP leaders would campaign in the state.
This digression from the party’s standard response — that it was yet to take a call on who would campaign in Bihar — led JD(U) leader Shivanand Tiwari to tell agencies that the JD(U) leadership would reconsider the alliance.
Talking to HT, however, JD(U) president Sharad Yadav said, “Naqvi met me in the morning to give some BJP leaders’ names for our joint campaign. No state CM’s name was discussed.”
Naqvi too was quick to deflect the controversy. He said, “What I meant was that Narendra Modi is certainly a star campaigner and senior leader of the BJP. However, whether he would be called to Bihar has not yet been decided, as the BJP is yet to take a call on its list of campaigners.”
The Modi issue has been a thorn in the flesh of the BJP-JD(U) ties, with Nitish Kumar making every effort to avoid being associated with Modi with an eye on Muslim votes.