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Nitish Kumar keeps BJP guessing

Last updated on: June 21, 2010 21:07 IST

After the tough talk and retaliation, Bharatiya Janata Party on Monday appeared keen on not breaking its alliance with Janata Dal-United in Bihar while Chief Minister Nitish Kumar kept the cards close to his chest.

"The potter does not want his pot to break," BJP spokesperson Shahnawaz Hussain said hinting that despite differences with the JD-U, the BJP would like the alliance to continue.

He, however, made it clear that though his party wanted to work with the JD-U for the development of Bihar, it would not compromise on self-respect.

Stepping in to apparently cool down tempers, senior leader L K Advani, who is in favour of the 15-year old alliance continuing in the run-up to the assembly polls in the state likely in October this year, discussed the developments with Bihar's BJP unit chief C P Thakur.

After the meeting, Thakur said he would apprise BJP president Nitin Gadkari who would decided on the future course of action.

In Patna, the CM sought to play down the flood aid row with coalition partner BJP, saying there was no cause for tension.

"Tension mat lijiye, relax kijiye (Don't take tension, relax)," he replied cryptically to a volley of questions from reporters before behaving for his Biswas Yatra in Nalanda district.

His comments came a day after senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha accused him of being childish by returning the Rs five crore given by the Narendra Modi government for the Kosi flood victims and dared him to snap the alliance.

Kumar and his deputy and senior BJP leader, Sushil Kumar Modi were seen talking with each other at the swearing-in ceremony of the Chief Justice of the Patna High Court Rekha Manoharlal Doshit at the Raj Bhavan.

Modi had on Sunday decided to stay away from the Biswas Yatra at Paliganj. Accusing Kumar of enacting a "high drama", Congress said the Chief Minister's attempt to woo the minorities has been "thoroughly exposed".

Lok Janshakti Party president Ram Vilas Paswan said if Kumar felt that BJP is a communal party, he should snap ties with its ally and not eep "clinging to power".

The crisis in the NDA emerged after Kumar reacted angrily to an advertisement in the local dailies on the eve of the June 12-13 BJP national executive meeting which said that the Gujarat government, led by Narendra Modi, contributed liberally towards relief for victims of the 2008 Kosi floods.

Kumar had termed this claim as "uncivilised", saying any gesture of help should not be proclaimed publicly. He had also vociferously objected to another advertisement showing him clasping hands with Narendra Modi, the hardline Hindutva face of key ally BJP.

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