New Delhi: The Janata Dal (United) on Saturday made it clear that party leader Nitish Kumar was not in the race for the PM post. It also made its opposition to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi loud and clear.
"Modi failed to tackle the Gujarat riots," JD(U) General Secretary KC Tyagi said at a press conference in Delhi.
At the party conclave on Sunday, the JD(U) resolution is expected to spell out clearly that the NDA candidate should have impeccable secular credentials. The resolution will underscore the JD(U)'s objections to core BJP issues of Ram Mandir, Uniform Civil Code and Article 370.
The party will also insist that the NDA declare its PM candidate before the Lok Sabha elections.
This means there is a broad deadline which is being set by the key NDA constituent, and that Modi should not be imposed on the NDA as a fait accompli. So if not Modi, then who is agreeable to the JD(U)?
Although not in as many words, the JD(U) alluded its support to former deputy PM and BJP patriarch LK Advani. "We have earlier fought elections under LK Advani, how can we change our view now?" Tyagi said.
The political fineprint though will be spelt out by Nitish Kumar himself in the valedictory address on Sunday. The party seems clear on one count though. Its immediate exit from the NDA would help Narendra Modi the most. So 'wait and keep the pressure on BJP' seems to be the strategy. It suits both Nitish and the opposition to Modi within BJP.