Country needs a Hindu PM: Sangh

The secularism-Hindutva battle intensified on Wednesday with RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat rallying behind Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi, saying the country needed a 'Hindu' leader.

Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar had decided to take on Mr Modi when the BJP, at its Mumbai national executive, wanted to name the latter chairman of its campaign and selection committee.

This would have been a clear signal that the party wanted to project Mr Modi as its prime ministerial candidate for 2014.

Mr Nitish Kumar, who has to cater to Bihar’s Muslim votebank, made it clear the NDA needed a secular face, sources said.

However, despite the war of words, sources said Mr Kumar had 'assured the BJP leadership he will not quit the NDA'.

A BJP leader claimed the move to pick Mr Modi as head of the BJP campaign and selection committee was also 'conveyed to Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik and Tamil Nadu CM J. Jayalalithaa'.

It was said that if the BJP managed to get 200 seats in the 2014 general elections on its own, the party will project Mr Modi as Prime Minister.

“Naveen Patnaik and Jayalalithaa had no issues, but Nitish needs to cater to the Muslim votebank in Bihar,” the BJP leader added.

Some BJP leaders were apparently taken unawares by the RSS chief’s anti-Nitish remarks.
Lashing out at Mr Kumar for saying that the NDA needed a secular Prime Minister, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said, “Nitish Kumar said NDA’s prime ministerial candidate for the 2014 elections should be secular. He wants to keep his vote bank intact.”

Mr Bhagwat was addressing an RSS meeting at Latur in Maharashtra.

Adhering to the Hindutva card, the RSS chief went on to say, “Hinduism is an all-inclusive religion, Hinduism is the religion of humanism, Hinduism follows a broad philosophy.”

Then came the saffron sting, “To keep Hindutva ideology alive, the Hindu samaj needs to come together and the country should have a Prime Minister who believes in this ideology, Mr Bhagwat said.

RSS spokesman Ram Madhav said that 'Hindutva is synonym for secularism'. He then quickly added that the RSS chief’s remarks should not be linked to 'day to day happening in national politics'.

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