Advani natural choice of BJP: Nitish

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Patna, Dec 11 (UNI) Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar today said being the second widely accepted leader after Mr Atal Bihari Vajpayee in the BJP, former Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani was the natural choice of the party.

Mr Kumar told newspersons here that BJP's announcement of Mr Advani as the BJP's prime ministerial candidate was an internal affair of the party.

He said as Mr Advani was already functioning as Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, it was natural for the BJP to consider him as its choice to lead the party.

Mr Advani was leader of the NDA and there was nothing ''unnatural'' in his selection as leader of the BJP, he said adding the JD(U) had always supported Mr Advani even after the latter's statement about Mohammad Ali Jinnah during his Pakistan tour.

It was the BJP, which reacted strongly to the statement, he said.

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 Ayodhya issue would be sorted out as per the court verdict, Article 370 of 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 party's faith in secularism, Mr Kumar said the NDA existed at national level and in Bihar and Jharkhand, whereas the JD(U) was contesting Gujarat elections without allying with the BJP.

Highlighting the programmes, taken up by his government in Bihar for minorities welfare, Mr Kumar said his government had launched ten-point programme for the uplift of the minorities.

UNI

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