Will JD(U) formally distance itself with NDA today?

New Delhi, April 13: The two-day national meet of the JD(U) beginning on Saturday is set to raise a pitch over the NDA's prime ministerial candidate. One of the key allies of the BJP-led alliance, the JD(U) has strongly opposed Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi as the PM candidate for the next Lok Sabha polls and spoken in favour of a secular candidate. But Modi has been recently elevated in the BJP's parliamentary board and seen approaching the national stage by appearing in various fora across the country.

The JD(U) is likely to make a strong demand for the early projection of the next PM candidate and reiterate its commitment to secularism ahead of the Lok Sabha polls. Although the part leaders have not spoken much on the political resolution which will be passed at the meeting, sources indicate that the party might refrain from naming Modi in it but make its reservations against his candidature for the top most very clear.

JD(U) Rajya Sabha MP Ali Anwar Ansari said it has been a tradition of the party that some secular leader should be projected as the NDA's PM candidate, who will be consensus candidate and who believes in working amid unity.

The Congress, however, mocked the JD(U)'s hunt for a secular candidate. Shakeel Ahmed, a party leader from Bihar, the state ruled by the JD(U)-BJP alliance, said it disn't make sense if somebody looking for a secular leader said no to Modi but yes to L K Advani. He said Modi is the symptom if the disease (communalism) which had been spread by Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Advani.

The formal announcement of Sharad Yadav as the party's president will also be made at the meeting. It will be the third consecutive term for Yadav, who had replaced George Fernandes as the party chief in 2006. The party constitution was amended on March 5 to give Yadav a third term.

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