NDA allies root for Advani as PM, not Modi

May 4th, 2009 - 5:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party New Delhi, May 4 (IANS) Key allies of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) have made it clear that only L.K. Advani and not Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi is acceptable to them as the prime ministerial candidate.
Leaders of the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) in Bihar, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) in Assam and the Akali Dal in Punjab told IANS that for this election they considered only Advani for the top job, as already declared by the NDA.

The JD-U of Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has categorically stated that Modi was not acceptable to the party amid speculation that it could snap ties with the BJP depending on the outcome of the elections.

“A few BJP leaders are advocating Modi as the prime minister of India in the event the NDA forms the government but that is not acceptable to us,” Shivanand Tiwari, the JD-U national spokesperson, told IANS in Patna.

“Our stand is very clear on our choice of prime minister and that would be senior BJP leader Advani, not Narendra Modi.”

Modi’s name emerged for the top job in the run up to the April 30 third round of polling for the Lok Sabha in nine states including Gujarat after BJP’s Arun Shourie said that Modi was competent to be prime minister.

Shourie had said Gujarat has the chance to elect the prime minister and the next prime minister — a clear reference to Advani and Modi.

This was seconded by party general secretary Arun Jaitley. Modi himself has maintained that Advani was the man for the post. In February, top business tycoons Mukesh Ambani and Sunil Mittal also called Modi prime minister material.

But the NDA’s allies are clearly not thinking on those lines.

The Akali Dal in Punjab said it was not thinking of Modi.

“The BJP is contesting this election with the name of its leader, Advani, for prime ministership. The Akali Dal is going only by that,” Daljeet Singh Cheema, the Akali Dal candidate for Anandpur Sahib seat and political adviser to state Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal, told IANS.

“In the present context, even the BJP is not proposing any other name,” he said.

AGP in Assam went a step further to say it had an alliance with the BJP only to contest the elections together.

AGP spokesperson Atul Bora told IANS: “The debate over Narendra Modi and Advani as prime minister is an internal matter of the BJP. Since we don’t have any alliance with the BJP and just a seat sharing agreement for the Lok Sabha elections, we are not really bothered about that.

“The debate is unnecessary as the BJP had already projected Advani as the prime ministerial candidate and we have full confidence in his leadership,” he added.

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