JD-U may walk out of NDA camp

JD-U may walk out of NDA camp

A sulking L K Advani on Monday not only put the BJP in the throes of a crisis, but also cast a shadow on the future of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

The veteran leader resigned from all positions in the BJP, but retained the primary membership. The BJP’s key ally, the JD-U, was quick to indicate that it might walk out of the NDA as the coalition was now left “on ventilator support.” Another BJP ally, the Shiv Sena, also echoed similar sentiments, as it said that one could not think of an NDA without Advani. 

The JD-U is known to have reservations over the choice of Narendra Modi as BJP’s poster boy for the 2014 polls. The party said Advani’s decision does not augur well for the coalition. The party said it would soon decide whether to continue or walk out of the NDA.

“I am deeply saddened by the resignation of Advaniji. The NDA was forged due to the efforts made by Atalji and Advaniji,” said JD-U president and NDA convener Sharad Yadav.

 “So his resignation, in my opinion, is a serious issue and we will convene our own party meeting to discuss the matter.”

JD-U general secretary K C Tyagi said Advani had been “humiliated” by the BJP and the NDA was now “on ventilator support.” It would be difficult for the party to continue in the coalition, he added.

“One can not think of the NDA or the BJP without mentioning the names of Atal Behari Vajpayee or Lal Krishna Advani. Their contribution to the growth of the NDA is invaluable,” said Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray. “The new generation needs his insight and experience to march forward. We will try to persuade him to take back his resignation.” 

Advani has not yet relinquished the chairmanship of the NDA.

The JD-U, the second largest constituent of the NDA, is miffed at the growing clamour within the BJP for projecting Modi as the party’s prime-ministerial candidate. The regional party made public its reservation on accepting Modi as the NDA’s face for the next Lok Sabha elections, citing the Gujarat chief minister’s controversial role during the 2002 riots.

Nitish Kumar, the Chief Minister of Bihar and the JD-U development icon, had asked the BJP in April to declare a leader with secular credentials as the prime-ministerial candidate by the year-end.

The Shiv Sena had also subtly expressed reservations over Modi being projected as the face of the NDA’s poll campaign. The party in January voiced its support for Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, Sushma Swaraj, as the NDA’s prime-ministerial candidate.

The BJP on Sunday not only ignored Advani, but also brushed aside demur of its allies and appointed Modi the chief of the party’s campaign panel, stopping just short of declaring him the prime-ministerial candidate. Both Shiv Sena and JD (U) were quick to point out that Modi was appointed the leader of the BJP’s campaign, not of the NDA.

The Shiv Sena mouthpiece, however, welcomed the BJP decision on Monday. “The average age of Advani and other colleagues of him are around 85 years....this leadership cannot take the BJP to the portals of power in Delhi. New tactics are required and if Modi can usher in new tactics then it should be welcomed,” read an editorial in “Saamna.”

The Shiromani Akali Dal, another NDA constituent, also welcomed Modi’s elevation and termed Advani’s resignation an “internal matter” of the party.

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