NEW DELHI: The Bharatiya Janata Party deferred a decision on continuing its alliance with the Janata Dal-United in Bihar after the party president, Mr Nitin Gadkari met state party leaders at his residence late Tuesday.
"The BJP president heard the views of Bihar leaders seriously. He will discuss it with the central leaders. No final decision has been taken on the relationship (between the two parties)," the BJP spokesman, Mr Shahnawaz Hussain told reporters after the meeting, which lasted nearly an hour.
Earlier in the day, reports that the Bihar Chief Minister, Mr Nitish Kumar does not want Mr Narendra Modi and Mr Varun Gandhi to campaign in the state for assembly polls created fresh strains in the JD-U-BJP alliance with saffron party leaders asserting that they cannot be dictated to.
Adding to the strain, Mr Kumar sent a Bihar police team to Surat to inquire into the advertisements put out in Patna newspapers about Gujarat government’s Kosi flood relief aid to Bihar but recalled it after the step drew angry reaction from the BJP.
On a day when the leaders of the core group of BJP’s Bihar unit met the party president, Mr Nitin Gadkari, four ministers of the party attended a cabinet meeting chaired by Mr Kumar in a sign that things have not reached a breaking point.
The BJP top brass reviewed its ties with the JD-U with party leaders from Bihar in the backdrop of senior leader, Mr L K Advani being not in favour of the alliance falling apart.The Bihar Deputy Chief Minister and senior BJP leader, Mr Sushil Modi, who called off a joint appearance with Mr Kumar for the ‘Biswas Yatra’ on Sunday, met Mr Advani. He was accompanied by the party chief spokesperson, Mr Ravi Shankar Prasad, who also hails from Bihar.
Mr Kumar, who triggered a row with the BJP by returning to the Gujarat government its Rs 5 crore relief for the Kosi flood victims, is reported to have told the BJP that the alliance can continue only if the BJP agrees not to field Mr Modi and Mr Gandhi in the election campaign for Bihar polls expected in October this year.
There was no official word from the JD-U but leaders, speaking on condition of anonymity, said there would be no compromise on this issue and that the party had no qualms in going it alone if the BJP remained adamant.
Mr Hussain said the party had not received any such message and "we haven’t asked for anyone’s suggestions".
"When the election campaign starts, BJP will make a list (of campaigners). BJP will decide as to which leader will campaign where," he said.