Millennium Post

‘Will let BJP know soon on PM stand’

The BJP’s week got off a rough start.

First, three of its senior most leaders were forced to abandon plans to lead a massive election rally in Karnataka after a technical problem forced their private jet to return to Delhi.

Then, crucial ally Nitish Kumar announced that his party will meet on 13 and 14  April in Delhi to decide whether to remain a member of the NDA, the national coalition fronted by the BJP.

Kumar, who is the chief minister of Bihar and governs his state with the BJP, also said that the top leaders of his party will debate whether the NDA should announce their prime ministerial candidate before the national elections are held.

The BJP’s centre of gravity is shifting rapidly towards Narendra Modi, its chief minister from Gujarat, whose recent re-election for a third term in office has led to a high-volume campaign from party workers and supporters, asking that he be made the prime ministerial nominee.

The BJP has given Modi recent promotions to acknowledge that he will be a front-liner in the campaign for the elections, but has not yet announced him as its presumptive prime minister.

That’s largely because Kumar has warned that if that happens, he will be forced to truncate his relationship with the BJP.

The communal riots of 2002, in which hundreds of Muslims were killed in Gujarat on his watch have led to Modi being treated as political anathema by the Bihar chief minister, who is heavily reliant on the 15 per cent Muslim population of his own state.

As Modi’s trajectory towards Delhi has become clearer, his party and Kumar’s have been trading jabs.  Both sides have said they plan to stick together, but increasingly, their language suggests the opposite.
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