Advani natural choice of BJP for PM candidate - Nitish

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Patna, Dec 11 (UNI) Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today said being widely accepted second leader after former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the BJP, senior party leader L K Advani was a natural choice of the party for the prime ministerial candidate in the next parliamentary elections.

Addressing mediapersons in his assembly chamber here, the Janata Dal (United) senior leader said the BJP's announcement of Mr Advani as prime ministerial candidate was an internal affair of the party. He said as Mr Advani was already functioning as the Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, it was natural for the BJP to consider him as its choice to lead the party.

Mr Advani was the leader of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and there was nothing ''unnatural'' in his selection as leader of the BJP, he said, adding that the JD(U) had always supported Mr Advani even over the statement given by the latter about the founder of Pakistan, Mohd Ali Jinnah, during his Pakistan tour.

It was the BJP which had reacted strongly over the statement, he added.

Mr Kumar claimed that the JD(U), the major constituent of the NDA at the time of formation of alliance, had categorically cleared its stand that the Ayodhya issue would be sorted out as per the courts verdict. Article 370 of the Indian Constitution would not be abrogated and the Uniform Civil Code would not be promulgated. He said the JD(U) was adhering to its stand and no hardliner was active within the NDA.

Reiterating his partys faith in secularism, Mr Kumar said the NDA existed at national level and in Bihar and Jharkhand, whereas the JD(U) was contesting the Gujarat assembly elections without alliance with the BJP.

Highlighting the programmes taken up by his government in Bihar for the welfare of minorities, Mr Kumar said his government had launched a ten-point programme for the upliftment of the minorities and they were being provided with all facilities.

UNI

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