New Delhi: Former Bharatiya Janata Party chief Nitin Gadkari has denied reports that he assured Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar that Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi will not be the Prime Ministerial candidate. Gadkari said he met Nitish along with senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley, but did not say that Modi won't be the PM candidate.
In his statement, Gadkari has said that he and Jaitleyhad in 2012 told Nitish that the BJP so far had not taken a decision on the PM candidate. The statement says he also told Nitish that the BJP leadership would discuss the issue at the appropriate time and take all the allies into confidence.
This comes at a time when the BJP's core group is set to meet to discuss its face-off with the Janata Dal United. Bihar's Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi will meet Rajnath Singh on Thursday afternoon.
BJP sources indicate that the party wants to maintain status quo in Bihar and that the party does not want to precipitate the crisis. Sources tell CNN-IBN that the BJP will decide on the issue only after state assembly polls in MP, Delhi, Rajasthan and Chhattisgarh.
The JD(U) had earlier this week set the terms for the BJP, giving out a stern message on the National Democratic Alliance's (NDA) prime ministerial nominee.Nitish Kumar did not name Modi, but made it very clear he is not acceptable as a PM candidate.
The JD(U) set a deadline till the end of the year to declare the PM candidate. In his speech, Nitish listed the criteria for a prime minister and said only someone who can take all sections of society together can become take the top post.
Nitish also warned said if the BJP changes direction, it would create problems for the alliance. "When we joined hands with the BJP, it was decided contentious issues like BJP views on article 370 and Ram Janmabhoomi will be kept at bay. If there is an attempt to digress there from the path, there will be trouble," the JD(U) leader said. "Only one who can carry with him all the diverse sections of people can become the leader of the nation. This was Atal Behari Vajpayee's personality. Now, if there is an attempt to change the path, there is bound to be problems. The country does not run by mere projection. Some persons think they will create a wave and people will accept it," he added.
In an apparent dig at Modi for his frequent reference to the Gujarat model of development, Nitish said many people accept it as development even when a developed state grows, and stressed that there is a need to see from where did a particular state start its development march. Citing the case of Bihar where the NDA alliance led by him is in power for more than seven years, Nitish said, "Why will we go for genetic modification when the crop is in pink of health? Negative results are bound to happen if one makes an attempt of genetic modification."