RSS defends Modi against JD(U) barb

The war of words between the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) partners Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Janta Dal (United) escalated on Wednesday, with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) hitting out at the Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar, saying that he made the statement about the need to have a secular prime ministerial candidate so that his vote bank remains intact.

The RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, while attacking the Bihar chief minister, had said that Kumar was scared to call himself a Hindu and had also questioned his authority on deciding who would make a good prime minister.

Bhagwat's comment come a day after Kumar had said in an interview that the BJP should announce a secular prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 elections. This was seen as a reference to the Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi. The RSS chief also endorsed the candidature of Modi as the prime-ministerial candidate.

'To keep alive the Hindutva ideology, the Hindu samaaj should come together, and the country should have a prime minister who believes in that ideology or propounds that view,' said Bhagwat.

While the RSS supported supported Modi, the JD(U) took an aggressive stand against him by saying that it could go ahead and break the alliance if the Gujarat chief minister was projected as the prime ministerial candidate of the NDA. The JD(U) general secretary Shivanand Tiwari went to the extent of saying that his party would not support a fanatic face for the top job.

'People who voted for the BJP due to the liberal face of [Atal Bihari] Vajpayee went away from it after the Gujarat riots and the floating votes went to the Congress because people do not accept fanatic politics,' said Tiwari. He said that the party would not compromise on secularism even if it meant that the government in Bihar fell.
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