A senior minister from the Janata Dal (United) was pulled up for openly asking the Bharatiya Janata Party to declare Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar the NDA's prime ministerial nominee ahead of the next general elections.
Bihar rural works minister Bhim Singh pitched for the CM on Friday, prompted by a TV channel "survey" which found 64% Biharis favoured Kumar as PM.
After a dressing down from Kumar, Singh hastily called a press conference on Saturday to "correct" himself. "I regret my remarks in deference to the sentiments of the chief minister, who expressed his displeasure to me for airing my personal views in public. I had said what I did out of excitement. I should not have made such comments even in my individual capacity," he said.
JD(U) state president Bashishtha Narayan Singh said, "Many senior leaders and ministers make unwarranted comments without understanding their political ramifications. Such comments have often caused embarrassment to the leadership and strained the ties between the long-standing National Democratic Alliance constituents — JD (U) and BJP."
Earlier this year, a war of words had erupted between JD(U) and BJP leaders after Kumar had suggested in an interview that the NDA should declare a "secular" PM candidate before the 2014 elections.
The bickering had stopped only after the JD(U) put a lid on issuance of statements on contentious issues without approval of the party leadership.