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JD(U) sets year-end deadline, says BJP PM candidate must be secular

The JD(U) is likely to set a 8-month deadline for the BJP to announce its PM candidate and the party will stress on a prime ministerial candidate with secular image in its political resolution.

delhi Updated: Apr 14, 2013 14:17 IST

Exhibiting its antipathy to the projection of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi as the NDA's prime ministerial candidate in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the JD(U) hinted on Sunday that it would prefer BJP senior leader LK Advani over Modi as the PM candidate.

"Advani will be definitely more acceptable to most of the faction of the NDA," said JD(U) senior leader Devesh Chandra Thakur.

According to reports, the JD(U) is likely to set a 8-month deadline for the BJP to announce its PM candidate and the party will stress on a PM candidate with secular image in its political resolution.

The party on Saturday found fault with the alliance management of the BJP but did not signal that it was moving closer to the Congress.

JD(U) spokesperson KC Tyagi raised questions over Narendra Modi's role in containing the 2002 riots in the state as chief minister.

"As chief minister, Narendra Modi had not shown the alacrity and sensitivity in dealing with the riots which occurred in 2002," Tyagi said after the first day of national meeting of the party in New Delhi.

Answering questions on the PM candidate of the NDA, he indicated that the issue would be answered in the party's political resolution at the meeting of national convention Sunday.

The JD(U) is opposed to Modi as the prime ministerial candidate. There has been growing clamour in the ranks of the BJP for projecting Modi as the candidate for the post.

Tyagi on Saturday did not put a timeframe for the BJP to declare its prime ministerial candidate, which will clear the air on Modi.

Asked if the party would give a timeframe to the BJP, Tyagi said: "The BJP is a friendly party and there is no business and pressure tactics which is adopted with an ally."

He said that the BJP had not named a prime ministerial candidate yet.

"Until the BJP's parliamentary board takes a decision on the prime ministerial candidate, we will not comment," he said.

Citing speeches of party leaders from states such as Karnataka, Jharkhand and Rajasthan at the Saturday's meeting of national executive, Tyagi said they had said the BJP had been "not honestly followed the coalition dharma".

Also distancing his party from the BJP's stance on Kashmir, he said the political resolution will spell out the differences.

Tygai said the party's national executive meeting Saturday discussed organisational matters.

Answering queries, he said Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar was not a claimant to the prime minister's post.

About the Congress, he said "it was not our friendly party".

He said party's alliance with BJP was 17 years old and was formed after an agreement on national agenda that did not include issues like Ram temple at Ayodhya, uniform civil code and Article 370.

Tyagi had earlier in the day given indications that his party could give the BJP time to declare the prime ministerial candidate.

Sources said that there had been back channel talks between the senior BJP and JD-U leaders as tensions were simmering over the issue of prime ministerial candidate.

They said BJP president Rajnath Singh had spoken to JD-U president Sharad Yadav and Nitish Kumar on the issue.

Nitish Kumar has expressed reservations over Modi's candidature for prime ministership over the 2002 Gujarat riots that happened under his watch.

BJP president Rajnath Singh Saturday said that the alliance with the JD-U was firmly in place and any issues between the two parties would be sorted out.

"The JD(U) is an old ally. If there is any issue, it will be sorted out mutually," Rajnath Singh told reporters here.

The JD(U) is the largest constituent of the NDA after the BJP, with 20 members in the Lok Sabha. The party leads the government in Bihar, with the BJP as its junior partner.

First Published: Apr 14, 2013 13:00 IST