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Apr 15, 2013 at 02:07pm IST

Yashwant Sinha supports Advani as PM as Modi faces Nitish hurdle

New Delhi: Bharatiya Janata Party leader Yashwant Sinha has vouched for senior party leader LK Advani to be the Prime Ministerial candidate. He said if Advani is available to be the PM candidate, it will end the debate on NDA's PM nominee.

"Advaniji is the senior-most, most respected leader and if he is available to lead the party and government, then that should end all discussion. Everyone should fall in line and work together for the party under his leadership. But the call will have to be taken first by Advaniji himself, secondly by the party and finally by NDA," Sinha said to the Economic Times.

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Sinha's statement comes amidst rising tensions between the BJP and its ally Janata Dal United as Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is opposed to Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi's name as the PM candidate. On Sunday, Nitish Kumar without naming Narendra Modi made his opposition to the Gujarat Chief Minister apparent in his valedictory address at the end of the JD(U) National Council. Nitish minced no words in warning his long standing ally that he would not think twice before pulling out of the NDA if Modi is projected as the PM candidate by the BJP.

"What can be said of life, one day you have power and the next day it is gone. But we won't compromise on principles for the sake of power," Nitish said.

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Almost tearing into the political and development model of Narendra Modi assiduously built over the past one month through a media blitzkrieg, Nitish re-iterated that he was not in the PM race, saying, "We do not live in any illusion, we are a small party."

But at the same time, the JD(U) categorically spelt out a benchmark for NDA's PM candidate. In the political resolution, the party demanded that the NDA candidate must be bound by a pre-defined agenda for governance, shouldn't digress from previously agreed alliance stand on the three issues, secular credentials of the candidate must be beyond doubt. It said the PM nominee must support an inclusive model of political and economic development and be committed towards the needs of backward states and most importantly this candidate must be declared by the NDA before the year end.

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"The leader will have to understand the psyche of the people of a diverse multi-religious and multilingual country like India. Mere atmospherics would not do.. The Prime Minister should be like Atal Bihari Vajpayee. He always used to talk about following the raj dharma," Nitish said.

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