Amid chasm, Jaitley harps on unity among allies

Cracks within NDA exposed after Nitish rally

At a time when Janata Dal-United (JD-U) strongman Nitish Kumar flexed his muscles in a show of strength during Adhikar rally in Delhi, Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley harped on unity between the two allies of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) at a two-day state executive meeting of the BJP organised in Patna.

Jaitley, who played an instrumental role in stitching an alliance between the JD-U and the BJP in the mid-90s, reminded his party cadres that only a strong unity between the two allies of the NDA could help dislodge the United Progressive Alliance Government in the 2014 general election.

Jaitley’s unity sermon comes at a time when there is a continuous talk of “trust deficit” between the two ruling partners in Bihar as a large section within the BJP is hell-bent on projecting Narendra Modi as the party’s prime-ministerial candidate for Lok Sabha elections next year.

“We have to maintain the BJP’s image of a disciplined party and, therefore, the BJP leaders should sound like speaking in one voice,” said Jaitley, while addressing his party men in the State Capital.

No wonder, chanting of slogans like “Desh ka neta kaisa ho, Narendra Modi jaisa ho” was missing at the meeting. And so were missing those who, of late, had been rooting for Narendra Modi, causing much discomfiture in the JD-U camp.

Prominent those who were conspicuous by their absence included former Union Health Minister Dr CP Thakur, and ministers in Nitish regime Ashwani Choubey, Giriraj Singh and Chandra Mohan Rai.

Patna Sahib MP and senior BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha, too, laid stress on the unity and said that both Narendra Modi and Sushil Modi (Bihar Deputy Chief Minister) would have to work in tandem if the alliance had to romp home in 2014.

Shatrughan’s unity sermon assumes significance as Sushil Modi, despite being in the BJP, is considered too close to Nitish Kumar and has not uttered anything so far which would offend Nitish, whose antipathy for Narendra Modi is well known.

Meanwhile, State BJP president Mangal Pandey on Sunday announced deferment of a BJP rally which was scheduled for April 15. “We have now decided to organise a huge BJP rally called Hunkar rally on October 27,” said Pandey.

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