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Nitish, Sena add to BJP’s discomfort

If the internal disagreements over the selection of the presidential candidate were not enough for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the stance taken by its key allies on varies issues has further compounded the problem for the party. While one ally Janata Dal (United) has ruled out the possibility of supporting Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi, without naming him, as the prime ministerial candidate of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA), another ally has announced its support for United Progressive Alliance (UPA) presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee before the NDA could take a decision on it.

In an indirect reference to Modi, the Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar in a newspaper interview said that the leader of the coalition should have secular credentials and he should be without rough edges in his personality in a multi-religious and multilingual country.  

The JD(U) in the past week gave signs of not following the line taken by the BJP in the presidential poll. The JD(U) spokesperson Shivanand Tiwari while endorsing the candidature of Mukherjee, had said that a senior and respected leader like Mukherjee, should be given a graceful send off. Though JD(U) later said that it will abide by the decision taken by NDA. Now comes the bombshell from Nitish Kumar.

Though JD(U) is yet to express public support for Mukherjee, another key NDA partner Shiv Sena on Tuesday expressed support for the UPA candidate. In the party's mouth piece Saamna, Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackrey said, 'Let bygones be bygones. Let us unanimously support Pranab Mukherjee and show the world that we are all united.' Thackrey further wrote that the farce that is on for the top post is not justifiable and those who have no merit are also in the race.

In the 2007 presidential poll, the Shiv Sena had similarly supported the candidature of UPA's Pratibha Patil instead of NDA's Bhairon Singh Shekhawat.
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