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PM candidate row: BJP sidelines Yashwant Sinha's remark, takes on Nitish

Apr 16, 2013

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New Delhi, Apr. 15 (ANI): The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Monday downplayed party leader Yashwant Sinha's remark backing veteran L.K. Advani to be the NDA's choice for the Prime Minister's post if the alliance comes to power after the next Lok Sabha polls, saying the party's parliamentary board would take a final call on the candidate for the coveted post.
BJP spokesperson Meenakshi Lekhi said Yashwant Sinha is a leader in his own right, but does not represent the parliamentary board.
"The announcement of the name of the Prime Minister lies with the parliamentary board and we all are waiting when the parliamentary board meeting will happen and they will announce the name of the Prime Minister," she added.
According to a leading English daily, Sinha has backed Advani to be the NDA's choice for the prestigious post of the Prime Minister, saying that such a move would end the debate and unite the NDA.
Lekhi also took on Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar for his unfettered criticism of his Gujarat counterpart Narendra Modi, who is touted by many to be the BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate.
"Whatever Nitish Kumar had to say-I only have two things to say that response has gone unequivocally from the BJP yesterday. And so far as any acquisition, allegation against our CM (Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi) is concerned, we completely abhor that and Nitish Kumar nobody whose certificate is required so far as that particular aspect is concerned," said Lekhi.
"He is an ally of NDA and we will be consulting our allies. It's (JD-U) an old standing ally and the BJP's reference point yesterday in no uncertain terms we have specified that nobody works in the BJP who is not secular," she added.
Leaders of the BJP's Bihar branch met today with party president Rajnath Singh to discuss the escalation in hostilities for the two allies who partner in Bihar and at the national level.
Senior BJP leader and Bihar Animal Husbandry Minister Giriraj Singh said that they would discuss the issue with the BJP chief.
"Many of us have come from Bihar. The stand that chief minister Nitish Kumar has taken on the coalition, doesn't coincide with the realities of a coalition allies. This is not a legitimate demand. Today, we will meet Rajnath Singh and discuss the issues," said Singh.
Meanwhile, JD-U leader Devesh Chandra Thakur said that the allies had the right to know under whose leadership would they contest the 2014national elections.
"The allies of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) have the right to know about the Prime Ministerial candidate for the upcoming elections. They have the rights to know under whose leadership we are going to contest the elections. Nitish Kumar has clearly said that we want to be part of the NDA, and he has also clearly stated that he doesn't want to be a Prime Ministerial candidate," said Thakur.
The Bihar Chief Minister, who did not mention his counterpart in Gujarat in his address to the party workers in Delhi yesterday, reiterated his party's demand for a secular prime ministerial candidate.
Kumar, while indirectly jabbing Modi who is likely to be the face of the BJP's campaign for the national election, said that the Janata Dal (United) is not ready to compromise on secularism
"We won't compromise on secularism to stay in power. The secularism mentioned in our Constitution is essential for national development," he said, while speaking at the JD (U)'s national executive meeting here.
"This country cannot be run by force, it can be run by love, respect and a feeling of brotherhood. The PM candidate should have impeccable secular image," he added.
The JD-U, which is an important ally in the NDA, may ask soon the BJP to name its Prime Ministerial candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
The Janata Dal-United, which appears to have made up its mind that it would accept only someone with a secular image, does not want to wait till the very end and wants the BJP to declare its leader for 2014 now.
The JD-U, which has 20 Lok Sabha MPs, is the second largest member of the NDA coalition after the BJP.
The BJP, which heads the NDA, had earlier said that a decision on the Prime Ministerial candidate would be decided jointly. (ANI)

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