BJP central leadership will take a final decision on continuing its alliance with the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) in Bihar, it was announced late Tuesday after a meeting of state party leaders with BJP president Nitin Gadkari.
The party's central leadership would meet on Wednesday or Thursday to take the final decision, BJP spokesman Shahnawaz Hussain told reporters as he emerged from the meeting.
He said Gadkari had a pre-scheduled engagement in Nagpur Wednesday and the time for the meeting of the central leadership had not yet been decided.
"The BJP president heard the views of the Bihar leaders seriously. He will discuss it with central leaders. No final decision has been taken on the relationship (between the two parties)," Hussain said.
He said that during the meeting, Bihar BJP leaders had informed Gadkari of the problems in running the alliance with the JD-U.
The meeting was held against the backdrop of the BJP's annoyance over Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's decision to return the Rs.5 crore given by the Gujarat government after the 2008 Kosi floods in Bihar.
Hussain said that the BJP wants the development of Bihar and expects dignity and self-respect in its relationship with the JD-U.
He said the BJP's Bihar leaders had taken note of Nitish Kumar's decision to stop a police team from going to Gujarat in connection with probe into a controversial advertisement featuring him and Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi, state party president C P Thakur, party MP Ravi Shankar Prasad and party leaders Nand Kishore Yadav and Ashwani Chaubey were among those who attended the meeting.
The differences between Nitish Kumar and the BJP began June 12 when the chief minister expressed displeasure over newspaper advertisements featuring him and Narendra Modi and the references to the aid provided by Gujarat after the Kosi floods. The advertisements appeared on the day the BJP's two-day national executive meet started in Patna.
Earlier Tuesday, four of the 12 BJP ministers attended a meeting of the Bihar cabinet in Patna after Sushil Modi instructed party ministers not to boycott it.
While some ministers had gone to Delhi to meet Gadkari, those in Patna attended the meeting in an indication of the BJP's softening of stance.
The BJP also denied that it had received any indication of the JD-U threatening to snap ties with it if Narendra Modi, as also party leader and Varun Gandhi campaign during Bihar's assembly polls later this year.
"We have not received any such message from the JD-U on who will campaign and who won't, This is for us (BJP) to decide who should or shouldn't. We have not sought anybody's advice on this either," Hussain told reporters in New Delhi in the afternoon.
However, BJP leaders also made it clear that they will not appreciate any diktat on the issue from the JD-U.
"The BJP central leadership decides the leaders for campaigning. When there is an alliance, there should be no pre-conditions," state BJP chief CP Thakur said.
Thakur had told IANS Monday that the state BJP expected Nitish Kumar to take "some conciliatory steps" to assuage the "hurt" to the party.
He said the BJP wanted the coalition to continue but the party would not compromise on dignity. "We want that the coalition should stay but with dignity," Thakur said.
He said the JD-U was also in favour of continuing the alliance.
BJP sources said that any snapping of the 14-year-old ties with the JD-U would spell trouble for both the partners as it could lead to imposition of President's Rule in Bihar. It would also lead to fragmentation of the support base of the two parties, they added.