JD-U set to snap ties over Modi, BJP unfazed

Patna, June 12 (IANS) Bihar's ruling JD-U seems to decided to end its 17-year-old alliance with the BJP over the rise of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi and a formal announcement is expected soon, party leaders indicated Wednesday. An unfazed BJP warned the people will not forgive the "betrayal".

"Only a formal announcement is to made for snapping the ties with the BJP," said a senior Janata Dal-United (JD-U) leader, considered close to Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who virtually controls the party.

"Till late yesterday (Tuesday) night, a number of party leaders, including ministers, held discussions with Nitish Kumar at his official residence, 1 Anne Marg, and it was decided to formally announce the end of ties with BJP in next two to three days," said the leader who did not want to be identified.

Another party leader said that JD-U president Sharad Yadav is set to arrive here by Thursday or Friday for consultations with the party leaders before a formal decision is made public.

Senior JD-U leader and Bihar minister Shayam Razak told IANS here that his party was discussing the issue in view of developments at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) meet in Goa and later in Delhi.

He was referring to the prominent role given to Modi for the 2014 polls and BJP veteran L.K. Advani's decision to resign from his all party posts, but later bowing to pressure from the party to continue.

"What happened in recent days was unfortunate and painful for the NDA (National Democratic Alliance)," said Razak.

JD-U leader and state Water Resources Minister Vijay Kumar Choudhary told media persons here Wednesday that top leaders of the party will deliberate here before a final decision, but his ministerial colleague, Narendra Singh was more definite, asserting Modi was not acceptable to his party as the NDA's prime ministerial candidate.

"Narendra Modi to lead NDA in 2014 general elections is not acceptable to JD-U. We are against being part of NDA under his leadership," Narendra Singh, the state agricultural minister, told media persons here.

He said Modi was tainted by his involvement in 2002 Gujarat riots, and Advani was more preferrable.

JD-U leaders revealed Nitish Kumar was upset in view of Modi's increasing clout and the likely end of Advani era in the BJP.

"Nitish Kumar is unhappy with BJP leaders propagating that Modi, widely perceived to the party's prime ministerial candidate, could not be sacrificed for the sake of the alliance," said a JD-U leader.

Hitting out, the state BJP leaders said there were ready ready to sit in the opposition in case the alliance ended.

"BJP will sit in opposition and play a role of an aggressive opposition," BJP leader and Bihar PHED Minister Chandra Mohan Rai told media persons.

BJP state chief Mangal Pandey said that people will not forgive the party that end the ruling alliance as verdict was given to both BJP and JD-U to replace "jungle raj" of the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) seven and half years ago.

According to BJP leaders, senior party leaders including Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi told party workers that BJP will not bow before JD-U to sideline or replace Narendra Modi as its poll campaign committee chief.

"BJP is sure to gain in polls with Modi as its leader," a party leader said.

Meanwhile, JD-U leaders asserted that there was no threat to the Nitish Kumar government even if it ends alliance with the BJP as it had the numbers.

The party needs the support of 122 legislators in a house of 243 to remain in power.

"The JD-U already has 119 legislators and it would need the support of only three legislators. Most of the six Independent legislators are supporting the party and will extend support to carry on the government," said a party leader.

JD-U spokesperson Sanjay Singh said that two independent legislator - Pawan Jaiswal and Vinay Bihari - have already extended support.

The BJP has 91 legislators, the Rashtriya Janata Dal 22, Congress four and the Lok Janshakti Party and the Communist Party of India one each.

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