BJP ministers refuse to meet Nitish

Party plans to ask Bihar chief minister to seek fresh mandate

BJP ministers refuse to meet Nitish

At least two senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ministers, including Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, on Saturday refused to meet Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar when he invited them for talks on the crumbling National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

The decision of the ministers came at a time when the Janata Dal United (JD-U) maintained that a split was now merely a formality and could be announced possibly on Sunday.

The other minister, Nand Kishore Yadav, who is also the convener of the NDA in Bihar, refused to meet Nitish on Friday, saying that there was no point in meeting the chief minister as he wanted to discuss those issues for which we were not authorised to talk.

“Our national leaders have been holding parleys with Nitishji, and it is for them to take a call on the issue,” said Yadav. Nitish’s key aide P K Sahi confirmed that the duo was invited by Nitish but they did not turn up for talks.

No miracle in Bihar

The BJP leaders’ discomfiture was quite obvious when JD-U national spokesperson and Rajya Sabha member Shivanand Tiwary said only a miracle could now save the alliance in Bihar. “The onus of split will be on the BJP as it had imposed Narendra Modi on us even though Nitish had made his stand clear on the issue long back,” Tiwary asserted.

Meanwhile, another BJP minister, Giriraj Singh, a known votary of Narendra Modi, on Saturday questioned the secular credentials of the JD-U strongman and wondered why Nitish did not resign in 2002 as Union railway minister when Godhra riots took place, and why he was shedding “crocodile tears” after a decade. “If he had so much of hatred for Narendra Modi, he should have quit Vajpayee’s ministry in March 2002 when the riots took place. You can’t have your cake and eat it too,” said Giriraj, a vocal critic of Nitish.

In the meantime, the BJP held an informal meet at Sushil Modi’s residence where Bihar BJP unit chief Mangal Pandey wondered as to what happened in the last two to three days that made Nitish take such an extreme step. “On June 9, Bihar JD-U chief Vashishtha Narain Singh and on June 10 Nitish himself admitted that appointing Modi chairman of the poll campaign committee was an internal matter of the BJP. Then what has happened in the last couple of days that a split now appears imminent,” Pandey said. The BJP, meanwhile, is planning to ask Nitish to seek a fresh mandate if he decides to break the alliance with the saffron party.

“The verdict given by the electorate in November 2010 Assembly elections was in favour of the NDA, not the JD-U alone. So once Nitish decides to call off the ties, he should seek a fresh mandate from the people,” said BJP national vice-president and former Union health minister C P Thakur.

Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad said the only concern for Nitish was to consolidate his Muslim vote-bank. “But if he was so worried about the minorities, why did he not quit when one of the worst riots took place in Gujarat in 2002,” Lalu said.

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