BJP reaches out to JD-U

Party leaders tell Sharad Yadav not to pull out of NDA

BJP reaches out to JD-U

Senior BJP leaders Nitin Gadkari and Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi on Thursday met Janata Dal-United (JD-U) chief Sharad Yadav at his residence to persuade him not to pull out of the NDA.

The BJP leaders are said to have persuaded their 17-year-old ally to soften its stance on Narendra Modi, but they got no assurance from the JD-U.

Yadav told reporters that efforts are underway to improve the tense situation. He termed the leaders his “friends in the BJP.

“The NDA exists right now and we are working so that the situation that has taken a bad shape can be improved,” he said.

Replying to questions on whether the JD-U would reconsider its plans to sever ties with the BJP, Yadav said: “Talks are on between the BJP and the JD-U. We are also talking to our important workers. A meeting of the party will be held, where we will take a decision.”

Party sources said the BJP leaders emphasised that the pull out contemplated by the JD-U should be postponed for now. There should be no hurry as Modi is yet to be made the prime ministerial candidate. If at all a decision to that effect is taken, the NDA allies will be consulted. The BJP leaders also reiterated that appointing Modi the party’s campaign committee head was an internal matter.

The BJP sources said Gadkari called on party president Rajnath Singh after meeting Yadav and told him that the JD-U wanted an assurance that Modi would not be projected as the prime ministerial candidate. Singh is believed to have said that Modi was the most popular leader of the party.

In reply to a question on the issue, BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said: “I don’t think there is an assurance to the JD-U on who will or who will not be the prime ministerial candidate of the party.”

The BJP leaders have been saying that the popular mandate of the people was for both parties to give good governance and get rid of the “jungle raj” in the state, which they have to honour. Former BJP president M Venkaiah Naidu said in Hyderabad: “Some friends in the JD-U are making derogatory remarks about Modi which will neither help them nor the country. Please follow the coalition dharma.”

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