Shiv Sena warns of 'Mahabharat' if BJP ignores NDA allies
After JD(U), BJP's oldest ally Shiv Sena on Wednesday sought to put pressure on the party seeking a meeting of the NDA to decide on the name of a prime ministerial candidate, days after Nitish Kumar fired his salvos against Narendra Modi.
Comparing NDA constituents to horses of Arjun's chariot, Shiv Sena on Wednesday cautioned that the BJP should take allies into confidence on the issue of its prime ministerial candidate or else there could be a "Mahabharat".
With the chasm between BJP and JD(U) widening over Narendra Modi as the prime ministerial nominee, the Sena also insisted on convening a meeting of the Opposition alliance to end the prevailing "confusion".
"BJP has the right to name its PM candidate but it cannot do so on its own steam. This (NDA) is Arjuna's chariot and has many horses (allies). Every horse is important. Or else, there will be a different Mahabharat and the chariot wheel will get stuck," the party said in an editorial in its mouthpiece 'Saamana'.
"On one hand, those in UPA are speaking in one voice. They may have one thing in their minds and another on their lips, but as of now, all are behind Manmohan the Puppet.
"However, in NDA, everyone is beating his own trumpet and breaking people's eardrums. This is not a good picture," it said.
"There is a lot of confusion...there are several wannabes. There are squabbles within the NDA on the PM candidate issue. Rajnath Singh, L K Advani and Sushma Swaraj should comment on this and the confusion should be cleared by convening a meeting of the NDA at the earliest," Sena, BJP's oldest ally, said.
The 'Saamana' editorial defended Modi against criticism over the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat, saying, "Post-Godhra riots were a reaction to the burning of the Sabarmati Express."
"Had even Keshubhai Patel or Shankarsinh Vaghela (both former Chief Ministers who parted ways with BJP) been in Modi's place, then also the reaction would have been the same," it said.
Hinting at a possible split in NDA over Modi being named as prime ministerial candidate, the editorial said, "declaring someone's candidature, may result in gain of 5-10 (read some) seats but some old allies will leave, costing 5-25 (read even more) seats."
The 'Saamna' editorial came days after Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar made clear his strong opposition to projecting Modi as prime ministerial candidate.
JD(U) has said that BJP should declare its prime ministerial candidate having "secular credibility beyond doubt" for the next general elections.
Later, Sena MP and spokesman Sanjay Raut said he had requested JD(U) president and NDA convenor Sharad Yadav to call a meeting of the alliance to sort out the issue.
"I have requested Sharad Yadav to call a meeting of the NDA to discuss the issue. All allies, including Nitish Kumar, should be present and a final decision taken," he said.
Responding to the editorial, BJP president Rajnath Singh said he had not yet seen it. "They (Sena and JD-U) are our old allies. We will discuss things when necessary," he told TV news channels.