The BJP on Tuesday appeared to be hardening its stance towards its carping ally, the JD(U). This follows Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar continuing with his harangue and his JD(U) colleague Shivanand Tiwari upping the ante by naming Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
The kind of tantrum thrown by the Bihar Chief Minister in the past weeks had left the BJP leadership fuming. The BJP core group has decided not to go soft on Nitish Kumar if he continues his attack on his Gujarat counterpart.
Having been a part of the NDA journey since 1999, JD(U) is one of the oldest ally of the BJP. Today, when 2014 election is round the corner, it is Narendra Modi which made Nitish Kumar a matter of worry.
Amid a growing clamor to project Modi as BJP’s Prime Ministerial face, Nitish Kumar has issued a veiled threat to snap ties with the saffron party.
In its political resolution in the recently concluded national plenary of the party in New Delhi, JD(U) has spelt out a ‘benchmark’ for NDA’s Prime Ministerial candidate. “NDA’s candidate for PM must have secular credentials beyond reproach,” it says.
“Only one who can carry with him all the diverse sections of people can become the leader of the nation,” Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar said making no bones about his reservations on Modi. Even that was not enough, JD(U) spokesperson KC Tyagi went on to add that Modi had failed in discharging his duties as the Chief Minister to check the 2002 Gujarat violence. This is beyond any doubt that the JD(U) spokesperson is simply reading out the words carefully scripted by Nitish.
It’s a fact that JD (U) has been a steady ally of BJP. But that doesn’t mean that it has the authority to impose its will on BJP.
The moot question is who is Nitish Kumar to give a certificate on secularism to Modi. The Bihar Chief Minister must know that the minorities of Gujarat, in the last decade, having had their much-needed political space and peace have clearly preferred Modi. In the last Gujarat Assembly elections BJP had won 12 out of 19 Muslim-dominated constituencies in the State. During the Gujarat civic poll held in February, the BJP won all 27 seats in the Muslim-majority Salaya Municipality.
While Nitish Kumar rejecting Gujarat’s development under Modi’s rule, he himself is seeking a special status for Bihar. It is also true that the Bihar Chief Minister rejects the development of the improvised section in Gujarat but the figures show otherwise.
However, it is for the BJP to decide on the Prime Ministerial candidature of the party and should also approved by the NDA allies. But the allies can’t dictate terms to BJP and interfere in its internal matters.
Narendra Modi’s work has transformed him into a statesman. Like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Modi has already emerged as a mass leader. He is not only appreciated all over the country but also recognised internationally for his model of governance and development.
It is the people of the country who want Modi to lead the BJP in the 2014 election. Modi is the one and the only choice who can give Congress a crushing defeat. Without the Modi magnet, BJP’s support base will stand diluted. Given by the mood of the nation, with Modi being the electoral face of the BJP, the party might not even need too many allies.
It is a fact that the anti-Modi rhetoric is part of a larger game plan originally hatched by Congress. Those who have perennial animosity to Modi’s rise are just joining in. Nitish Kumar has preferred to join that group in a desperate attempt to pander to Minorities vote bank. It is said that Nitish Kumar is also being supported by a powerful lobby within the BJP who are envious of Modi’s rise. BJP might have differences in the choice of Prime Ministerial face. But despite differences the party should not forget its self respect. In other words, the BJP should not play into the hands of Congress.
JD(U) has played into the hands of the Congress by entering into the zone of vote bank politics instead of focusing on the issue of development. BJP has the capacity to go alone in Bihar. Figures tell the story. In the last Bihar Assembly election, BJP’s tally had increased by 35 per cent while that of JD(U) stood at 26 per cent. It is time for BJP to decide whether to stand behind ‘collective leadership’ highspeak or show enough spine to chalk its own election agenda. So what if JD (U) decides to step out, for Nitish has enough to lose in that game.