BJP not to reveal PM nominee yet

Amid growing unease in the JD(U) over projection of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi as BJP’s prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the BJP has conveyed to its ally that it will not decide on the PM candidate issue at this juncture despite Mr Modi being the first choice of BJP cadre for the post.

BJP top brass, it was learnt, told the JD(U) leadership that naming PM candidate at this juncture will not be politically wise either for the BJP or BJP-led NDA. The BJP, it was learnt, is in touch with non-Congress parties to expand the NDA fold before the general polls. The JD(U) on Saturday not only affirmed its alliance with the BJP, it also claimed that it will not set any deadline for its ally to decide on who would be its PM face, though again indicating that Gujarat CM would be an unacceptable choice. BJP leadership, it was learnt, told JD(U) that it is unlikely to take a call on this issue before the general polls.
Sources disclosed back channel talks were on between the two allies ever since reports started coming that JD(U) will insist BJP to name its PM candidate, given the former’s reservations to projecting Gujarat CM , considered by many as Hindutva icon, for the post. BJP top brass, including party chief Rajnath Singh, and senior leaders, including Arun Jaitley, had held talks with the JD(U) leadership over the reports suggesting JD(U) wants its ally to name the PM candidate. JD(U) leader and Bihar CM Nitish Kumar, who is in the capital for his party’s national executive meet, met Mr Jaitley in the evening, which both the parties claimed was a “courtesy call.” Mr Kumar is also expected to meet Rajnath Singh to “personally” congratulate him for his appointment as the BJP chief.
Sources disclosed JD(U) is apprehensive that any projection of Mr Modi would affect its minority votes in the state. However, the BJP, whose strike rate in the last assembly polls in Bihar was almost 90 per cent and won 91 assembly seats, is hopeful that JD(U) will not snap ties with it as it will otherwise polarise the upper caste votes, thus upsetting the JD(U)’s poll arithmetic. Majority of BJP’s Bihar leaders are in favour of Mr Modi as the PM candidate and have told the party leadership that it should not worry about JD(U) snapping ties.

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