Seeking to end frequent airing of the demand for making Narendra Modi the Prime Ministerial candidate, BJP president Rajnath Singh on Monday issued a virtual gag order to partymen, which was echoed by its ally JD(U), but faced open defiance by his colleagues C P Thakur and Shatrughan Sinha.
Concerned over fissures within NDA on the issue of declaring the Gujarat chief minister the PM candidate of NDA, Singh made a “final appeal” to his party leaders not to speak on the issue.
“I want to humbly appeal to BJP workers and leaders that there should be no statement from them on who will be the candidate for the Prime Minister's post. As I have said earlier, the BJP convention is that any decision on the chief ministerial or prime ministerial candidate is taken by the Central Parliamentary Board,” he said.
Singh's comments came in the wake of demands from BJP leaders like Ram Jethmalani and Yashwant Sinha that Modi be made the party's PM candidate. Other leaders have also reacted in the media to the debate, resulting in spilling out of the differences over the issue within NDA.
President of BJP's key ally JD(U) Sharad Yadav also demanded an end to the “mad rush” among NDA leaders to speak on the issue.
Yadav, who is also NDA convenor, said parties of the BJP-led alliance should rather focus on key issues confronting the nation like corruption, unemployment and economic crisis.
“I have never seen such a mad rush for prime ministership in the last six decades,” Yadav said.
JD(U) has reservations about Modi being made the PM candidate of NDA.
No sooner had Rajnath Singh issued his directive, former Bihar BJP chief C P Thakur reiterated his support for Modi for PM, saying the party would gain from it.
Insisting that Singh has not issued a gag order, Thakur said, “BJP will gain (by declaring Modi the candidate). By declaring him (Modi) the candidate BJP will certainly gain because of many factors... There is a feeling among the people that he should be the candidate.”
In Patna, another BJP leader Shatrughan Sinha backed Yashwant Sinha who has openly pitched for