Amid speculation over who would be the the National Democratic
Alliance's prime ministerial candidate, the Janata Dal-United, one
of the constituents of the NDA, has said it has laid down
"principles" in the matter.
"We have laid down principles: The candidate should have secular
credentials, be able to take everyone along, and should be a
votary of the rights of backward states," Janata Dal-United MP Ali
Anwar Ansari told IANS.
He said the NDA would take a decision on its prime ministerial
candidate, and the Bharatiya Janata Party, being its largest
constituent, should propose a name.
"The final decision will be taken at a meeting of NDA," he said.
Ansari, who is the party's chief whip in the Rajya Sabha, said the
constituents of the NDA would meet before an announcement of the
prime ministerial candidate is made.
Sources said the party's national executive meeting, and the
national convention of April 13-14 in the capital, would see
discussion of the matter.
JD-U leaders were expected to ask the BJP to name its prime
ministerial candidate, as there is a growing clamour within the
ranks of the BJP to project Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi
as the coalition's prime minister candidate.
JD-U leader and Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar has expressed
grave reservations over Modi's candidature on account of the 2002
Gujarat riots, which occurred under his watch.
The JD-U is the largest constituent of the NDA after the BJP, with
20 members in the Lok Sabha. The party leads the government in
Bihar, with the BJP as its junior partner.
Modi, in recent speeches, has indicated national ambitions,
presenting Gujarat as a model for the rest of the country.